Tag: Maus

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

Posted January 2, 2015 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Graphic Novel, Non-Fiction / 0 Comments

Fun Home by Alison BechdelTitle: Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (Goodreads)
Author: Alison Bechdel
Artist: Alison Bechdel
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006
Pages: 234
Genres: Graphic Novel, Non-Fiction
My Copy: eBook

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic is a graphic memoir that chronicles the childhood of Alison Bechdel, growing up in rural Pennsylvania and her complicated relationships with her father. Alison Bechdel is best known as the person whom the Bechdel test was named after. The Bechdel test is a simple method that can be used to determine if a work of fiction (or movie) is gender biased. To pass the Bechdel test there must be at least two women, who talk to each other about something other than men.

Fun Home is a non-linear account of Alison Bechdel’s childhood with a strong focus on her relationship with her father. A complex relationship, Bruce Bechdel was a funeral director and a high school English teacher. He was obsessed with restoring the family’s Victorian home and often viewed his children as free labour. He was often cold and prone to abusive rage, Alison’s relationship with her father was a difficult one. At 44, he stepped in front of a truck and was killed; while never confirmed, Alison believed her father completed suicide.

After his death, Alison discovered her father was a closeted homosexual who had sexual relationships with his students and babysitters. Alongside this, Fun Home follows Alison’s own struggle with her sexual identity,coming out to her parents before actually knowing her sexual preferences. The graphic novel centres on Alison Bechdel’s thoughts about whether her decision to come out triggered her father’s suicide.

This is a fascinating insight into the mind of Alison Bechdel, not only as a memoir but the struggles that she faced while trying to understand her own identity. Drawn in a gothic style, Bechdel uses blue shading to give her art a dramatic feel. She even uses childhood diary entries to help capture the mood and feel. The dramatic artwork and emotionally charged writing complement each other and really help drive the story.

While I enjoyed Blue is the Warmest Color more as a coming of age story and a struggle with sexuality, Fun Home still remains a wonderful graphic memoir than really packs an emotional punch. Graphic novels and memoirs often get pushed aside and disregarded as works of literature but every now and then comes a work of art that proves this idea wrong. It happened with Art Spiegelman’s Maus and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi; but Fun Home seemed to be the most common example that comics (I use the term comic as a catch all for graphic novels and memoirs as well) need to be taken more seriously.

I have been reading more comics of late and I have been impressed with the way art and writing can work together to tell a story. I like these graphic novels/memoirs that capture raw emotion, in the writing or art and I am trying to find more like this. While comics by Marvel and DC are a lot of fun, there are so many other works out there that explores this art from an interesting and new way. I really enjoyed Fun Home, it wasn’t a comfortable read but the experience was well worth the effort.

First Steps: Graphic Novels

Posted August 3, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in First Steps / 11 Comments

literary stepsFirst Steps is a new segment that was inspired by the Literary Exploration Reading Challenge. Each week or two we look at what books from different themes, genres or maybe authors and suggest some that are worth trying. Not necessarily all easy to read books but the ones that are worth the time and effort. My goal is to have First Steps guide you to some great books in places you don’t normally venture to.

Graphic Novels is something I have found many people struggle with in the Literary Exploration Reading Challenge; they often don’t know where to start or are just scared to try one. I got the impression that they thought they were more of a guy thing or they were not into superheroes. So I wanted to offer some suggestions that would cover both.

Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware

This graphic novel follows the story of a lonely and emotionally-impaired “everyman” who is given, at age 36, the opportunity to meet his father for the first time. Jimmy Corrigan is a self-conscious, mother-pleasing, middle-aged man with the angst of a teenage boy. An interesting and emotional story.

Ghost World by Daniel Clowes

This quasi-autobiographical story follows the adventures of two teenage girls facing the prospects of growing up. The art style of this Graphic novel is amazing, even though it’s mainly in black and white there are shadings of green that come through as well.


Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis is the autobiography of Satrapi, growing up within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution. Balancing the plot between her private and public life, in a country plagued by political upheaval.


Maus by Art Spiegelman

The only graphic novel I know of that has won the Pulitzer Prize. Maus is the complete story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife, living and surviving in Hitler’s Europe. The Jews are mice and the Nazis are cats, this is a brilliant way to tell this type of story.


Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley

I love this series, it follows the story of Scott Pilgrim and how he has to battle his new girlfriend’s seven evil exes. Something he would never have planned on, but love makes you do funny things. While this is six short graphic novels, I highly recommend reading the entire series. Also there is a faithful movie adaptation that is well worth seeing too The only real difference is Michael Cera doesn’t look like Scott Pilgrim.

There are many more great graphic novels out there but I hope I’ve given you a good place to start. Feel free to suggest some more graphic novels and even recommend some to me that I should check out. I’m tempted to do a similar post with more of your superhero type graphic novels but we will see how that goes.