From the best-selling author of Fun Home, Time magazine’s No. 1 Book of the Year, a brilliantly told graphic memoir of Alison Bechdel becoming the artist her mother wanted to be.
Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home was a pop culture and literary phenomenon. Now, a second thrilling tale of filial sleuthery, this time about her mother: voracious reader, music lover, passionate amateur actor. Also a woman, unhappily married to a closeted gay man, whose artistic aspirations simmered under the surface of Bechdel's childhood . . . and who stopped touching or kissing her daughter good night, forever, when she was seven. Poignantly, hilariously, Bechdel embarks on a quest for answers concerning the mother-daughter gulf. It's a richly layered search that leads readers from the fascinating life and work of the iconic twentieth-century psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, to one explosively illuminating Dr. Seuss illustration, to Bechdel’s own (serially monogamous) adult love life. And, finally, back to Mother—to a truce, fragile and real-time, that will move and astonish all adult children of gifted mothers.
There was a danger inherent in the bestselling microscopically examined autobiography of Bechdel s Fun Home, namely that further work from this highly impressive artist could disappear so far down the rabbit hole of her own mind that readers might never find their way back out. Her first book since that masterful 2006 chronicle of her closeted father s suicide narrowly avoids that fate, but is all the stronger for risking it. This Jungian comic drama finds Bechdel investigating the quiet combat of another relationship: that of her distant, critical mother and her own tangled, self-defeating psyche. Bechdel s art has the same tightly observed aura of her earlier work, but with a deepening and loosening of style. The story, which sketches more of the author s professional and personal life outside of her family, is spiderwebbed with anxiety and self-consciousness ( I was plagued... with a tendency to edit my thoughts before they even took shape ). There s a doubling-back quality, mixed with therapeutic interludes that avoid self-indulgence and are studded with references to creative mentors like Virginia Woolf (another obsessive who yet took daring creative leaps), analyst Donald Winnicott, and Alice Miller. Though perhaps not quite as perfectly composed as Fun Home, this is a fiercely honest work about the field of combat that is family.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Smart and charming
I purchased it after reading the NY Times book review, then went back and bought Fun Home.
Midway through I also picked up some Alice Miller books.
Incredible honesty and humility. An inspiring work. So glad I discovered her.
I cried at the end.
Well, I just finished it and I still think this is her best book so far. I've loved everything else Ms. Bechdel has written since the '80's, too.
I'm just so impressed with how much she's grown, all the dreams, dream analysis and time shifts(flash-backs). Wonderful portrait of a mother. Even Lacan gets a mention. It works as psychology, too!