Fun Home

Book Two in my accidental grouping of Stories of Rageaholic Fathers. Though Dad here isn't really angry: just depressed, hyperintellectual, and occasionally criminally sexual toward adolescent boys.

The intellectual musings and references left me feeling a trifle stupid: no, I've never read Proust, and though I did read my share of high-falutin' high thinkers in my day, I've never had the experience of a H.F.H.T. influencing the way I live my life in any profound way.

What surprised me about this book (beyond my priggish shock at cartoon renderings of lesbian cunnilingus - hello, Google searchers!) was its generally positive tone. The subject matter is largely bleak: depression, suicide, lost opportunities, sexual struggle. And yet Bechdel keeps despair mostly at bay. Is it simply the format that made me feel this way? Perhaps. But the subtitle promises "A Family Tragicomic," and both sides of that oxymoron came through.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel. HMCo, 2006, 232 pages.

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