Sunday, May 9, 2010

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

Yes! I finished a book in a reasonable amount of time!! I'm pretty sure I finished this one in 4 sittings, spaced out over a few weeks.

This is the first graphic novel I've ever read. Can you really call it a "novel" though if it's a memoir? Isn't "novel" associated with fiction?? Anyway, I really enjoyed Fun Home, except for the last chapter. I haven't read James Joyce's Ulysses, so the many many allusions and metaphors are completely lost on me. I'm sure they're very intelligent, but sadly, I'm not intelligent enough to completely get it.

I'm really tired right now and I'm on my way to bed, but I wanted to blog about this before I forgot. My absolute favorite part of the book is the last page of the first chapter. Alison is talking about her father's death and how even though she was 19 when he died, she felt that his absence radiated retroactively back through all her memories of him. She says it's the opposite of how an amputee feels phantom pain in a missing limb: her father really was there all those years while she was growing up, but she ached as though he were already gone. The last image of the chapter is incredibly moving when taken in with the description of feeling like her father is already gone. It's a picture from high above their yard, with Alison and her father with their backs turned, moving away from each other. I found it very powerful, and with that page, I finally "got" graphic novels. The words and the pictures play off each other and create something that is more than the sum of its parts. The missing limb metaphor could have worked in a traditional novel, but I wouldn't have gone back to that page to reread it 7 times if it hadn't been accompanied by the images. The images make a clever turn of phrase in to something special. I wanted to scan the page, or at least the last image, to include with this post, but I have already passed the book on to the next reader.

And now I'm going to bed.

1 comment:

Abby-Wan Kenobi said...

Awesome, the lack of pictures in this post is my fault? Sigh.

Can't wait to read this, I'll jump in as soon as I finish "Bonk" which is already living up to the standard set when I read "Spook". And because Mary Roach isn't satisfied to live only in my literary world, there was a reference to "Stiff" in the episode of Six Feet Under I watched yesterday.