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Bit much for me
on 12 January 2015
I'm starting a course on memory and narrative in fiction soon and Alison Bechdel's "Fun Home" is on the reading list. As a result, when I stumbled across this in the library, I thought I'd give it a go. I really like the idea of graphic memoir and the illustrations are very good. However, I did have some issues with this text. The first thing is, it seems to me that the author is obsessing unnecessarily about her relationship with her mother. Now I haven't read "Fun Home" yet and therefore don't know the ins and outs of the relationship with her father, which was clearly problematic. But her relationship with her mother struck me as basically anyone's relationship with their mother. I don't know anyone who's mother doesn't refuse to ring first (because they don't want to interfere) and then, when you do talk to them on the telephone, all they ever do is go on about people you don't know. So what? I wondered if Bechdel was perhaps trying to describe a universal experience through her own personal experience and maybe that was the point of it - but that said, we could every single one of us write a book like this one and learn absolutely nothing from it, except that mothers are a species unto themselves (I'm a mum myself and fully expect to turn into my own mother very soon - what is it Oscar Wilde said: "Every woman will one day turn into her mother - that is her tragedy." The other problem I had with this book was the sexual element of it - I don't care that the author is a lesbian - what bothers me is that every homosexual female writer I've ever read unnaturally obsesses about their sexuality (Winterson is another case in point); and there's too much in it in this book. It adds nothing to the story - it just makes for uncomfortable reading(in my opinion). Not everything has to be about sex. In fact, when you reach my age, you'd rather not very much was about sex (but, again, maybe that's just me).
Anyway, I'm glad I've read it - it will probably inform the tutorial where we do "Fun Home" for the week's reading - but I did think it was all a bit unnecessary.