Alison Bechdel: “FUN HOME”

FUN HOME ©Alison Bechdel

FUN HOME ©Alison Bechdel

FUN HOME ©Alison Bechdel
FUN HOME ©Alison Bechdel

#BD Her name may ring a bell, but with Liz Wallace she invented a test by play that evaluates the place given to the female gender in films (and other works). It is not uncommon for this Bechdel test to be cited today in articles or fictions.
Mais it is best known for two important graphic novels Fun Homeet C’est toi ma maman ? (Are You My Mother?) which respectively draw the portraits of his father and mother with his own questions dotted. Both books deal with very strong social topics and we also think of the very political strips she drew for almost 30 years, from 1983 to 2008: Lesbians to Watch Out For. Sexuality, coming out, heterosexism, homoparenthood, discrimination, activism, vegetarianism, ecology by depicting very different characters without isolating them from stereotypes or minorities.

She is a comic strip balancing act, between romanced biography and comics, black humour and touching moments, strong literary references and a taste for derision, a search for truth and the pleasure of memory… the narrator asks herself questions and tries to find answers through reading and writing.

An atypical family with a tragic destiny, these two books question these parents to whom she devotes an immersive biography coupled with her own journey. She shares her memories, extracts from her diary of the time mixed with her vision of current things to reconstruct the portrait of her parents. Fitzgerald’s enthusiastic readers, passionate about theatre and literature, living in Paris after the war, the Bechdels could have had a bohemian or artistic life if they had not gone back to Pennsylvania to bury themselves and take over the family business: a funeral home.

Funeral home or Fun Home for Alison and her brothers who play in this house while their father turns their house into a museum and becomes distant from the whole family. His father leads a double life that will complicate his relationships until his accidental death, which remains mysterious. We have to think of one of the best TV series, Six Feet Under, which opens on the same theme and also deals with stormy family relationships with humour and accuracy. The adventure is inner for the characters of this “ semi-fiction ” realistic and audacious, quite political and always contemporary since its publication. A lot of humour in the midst of this family tragedy, a strong story about family ties and self-acceptance to read and reread to appreciate all the subtleties.

Very documented, between biography and comic strip this “ memoir ” uses the drawing to suggest, confirm or refute the comments. The cutting and staging are almost documentary and the line attempts to reflect this realism. A few forays of illustrations or recreation are invited to support the narrator’s reflections. Drawing and writing participate in the same gesture in his work, to such an extent that many boxes feature text.

These two albums also focus on her own experience, from her literary discoveries to the affirmation of her sexuality until she fully assumes her homosexuality. She is engaged in a profound work in which she strives to understand how much influence her parents had on her and her choices and the need to preserve a space, a critical distance to assert herself. We recommend all the books in his (too short) bibliography.

Since 2014, Alison Bechdel has been the recipient of the very, very, very surprising MacArthur Foundation Engineering Scholarship, which funds the work of a “ personne à la créativité exceptionnelle ”. She receives 6 Lambda Literary Awards for works related to the LGBT world. In 2007 the Alice B Medal was awarded to the “ meilleures fictions lesbiennes ” for Fun Home as well as an Eisner the same year. She entered the Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2010.

Thomas Mourier

FUN HOME, Alison Bechdel, ed Denoël Graphic

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