‘Scuze me while I give this book my full attention.

3 May 2012

In January of 2011 I picked up Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and could not put it down except to post an ecstatic comment about how good it was. It quickly became the book I most frequently handed out as gifts to my friends. Bechdel, the cartoonist best known for her strip “Dykes to Watch Out For,” as well as for her minimum-standard feminist criteria for seeing a film, subsequently termed The Bechdel Test, is an amazing memoirist/ graphic novelist.

Fun Home is a memoir of Bechdel’s young life told in graphic novel format – especially trying to parse out her difficult, mercurial father whose gayness stayed secretive and whose death remains mysterious.

So when I heard last fall that she planned a similar book to plumb her relationship with her mother … well, let’s just say I placed an order for the book immediately. It’s no wonder I raced to finish yesterday’s piece on maternal ambivalence and We Need to Talk About Kevin, for the subjects are twinned. It’s like the most perverse Mother’s Day idea ever. I caught a glimpse of one panel from the book, a panel that hints at the relationship between the author and her mother:

So yeah, ‘scuze me while I throw myself into Bechdel’s pages. I’m turning off the phone, curling up with the blanket and a cup of tea, and letting these images and wry, terse text carry me on a psychological rollercoaster ride – to kiss the sky, and experience my stomach drop out from under me.

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2 Responses to “‘Scuze me while I give this book my full attention.”

  1. tam Says:

    Ooh, its out! I’d better get down to my local bookstore and buy it. Unfortunately my life is a whirlwind at the moment, so might have to wait till summer to read it. So I can do it justice and savour it.

    Perhaps you might catch one of her tour stops, if you’re nearby.
    http://dykestowatchoutfor.com/are-you-my-mother-tour

    ps. after your amazing review of We have to Talk about Kevin, I decided I was ready to watch it. But alas, its second run in theatres here had just finished. So I’ll have to wait for the dvd, bah!

    • Didion Says:

      Oooh, it’s soooo good. Not so lyrical as Fun Home; riveting and familiar. It ricochets between dreams, the past, the present, and therapy sessions. I read the entire thing in 24 hours and am now re-reading it. And damn it all, I missed her Boston-area appearance but will hunt her down elsewhere….


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