‘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.


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.

    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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