The book “Fun Home” which has a subtitle “A Family Tragicomic” represented a graphic memoir that was written by Alison Bechdel in 2006. In this book, the author makes an account of her childhood and the memories she had while growing up in the small town of Pennsylvania. The focus of her story revolved on the complicated relationship she carried throughout her lifetime with her father. The common themes of the book of revolves around gender roles, sexual orientation, dysfunctional life with the family, suicidal tendencies and the function of literature in appreciating the relationship with your own family. In the final chapter of the “Fun Home”, with “The AntiHero’s Journey” depicts as her father and her own odyssey. This chapter showed that Bechdel moved out of the house to pursue her college degree. During her freshman year, she became disillusioned when she experienced frustration in her English class. She approached her father, who happens to be an English high school teacher himself that she will no longer enroll in any English class ever in her life. However, this statement was overturned one and a half years later, because she had no choice but to enroll in another English class due to the limited list of subjects offered in her university. She included the class calendar and a category of selection which she regarded as “Hobson’s Choice”.
Comparing herself to the character of Telemachus in Odyssey, she recalled her very first nervous encounter with her professor in English. It is here where she imagined herself to be as reluctant as Telemachus, who was having hesitations to embark with her fate. The classroom scene is transformed to the mythical events in the Odyssey where Bechdel was induced by herown hostile undergraduate state which is reminiscent of the character of Telemachus who had the same gloomy undergraduate issues about him himself. Bechdel recalls how she begged to be admitted to not just any English class, but to the favorite author of her father, James Joyce, the well-loved book author of all time. One of her famous works is Ulysses. It was when she returned her admiration for Joyce that she also returned to her own father. This scenario in her book can be regarded as an odyssey since it is the event which reunited the author with her father through literature, and how she embraced him back in her life.
When she returned her passionate to enroll in English class and become reacquainted with Joyce, it was also the same time that she made a realization of her own sexuality which as achieved through reading. It was a day after when she enrolled for a class on Joyce that she discovered the truth about her own sexuality. While she was looking around the campus bookstore that had a display of Homer’s Odyssey in the background that she had written that she decided to board on an odyssey that symbolizes a slow, intermittent and unavoidable union with her father which she considered as an epic event in her life compared to the original Odyssey. She takes into account the three odysseys that has a meaning in her life: First is the Odyssey of Homer, second is the Ulysses written by Joyce and her own journey in life where she discovered her sexuality as she embraced her own gender. It bears stressing the fact that the common denominator among the three events is that they embody “gradual, episodic and inevitable convergence” which become her own representation of the occurrences in her life.
With the book “Fun Home”, the author placed her life inside the story by describing the existing relationships of fathers with their children, rebellion, and the strong desire to reunite as the final culmination of the book. The book carries various themes that continue to re-occur in the entire book. The primary theme is about sexual orientation where the author informs the audience on her she embarked her journey by realizing that she was a lesbian through reading books. She claims that she discovered she was a lesbian when she was nineteen that years old because she was heavily exposed to a family who valued reading as part of upbringing their children. It was her acquaintance with dictionaries, interviews of other lesbian people and her own reading that assisted her come to accept her own sexuality. She recalled that as a child, she already had doubts about herself when she yearned to a tank suit that she owned be substituted for a pair of shorts while she was in Cannes. She recalled how she longed that her brothers acknowledge her as Albert instead of her real name Alison in one of their camping adventures. It bears stressing that the author reveals that her father also showcased some homosexual behaviors. This gave her the feeling of security that she wasn’t alone in her situation and the choices made on partners. In fact, she states that she had been demoted from protagonist in her own dramatic story due to the own tragic story of her parents, as her mother revealed the true secret of her father. Thus both of them were placed in the same situation as the author was a lesbian and her father was a bisexual. In addition to sexual orientation, the author regards her father as his big sister who helped her in her growing up years in every step of the way.
Fun Home became well-known all over the world and achieved success by being named one of New York Times’ Best Seller, for two weeks. Due to its resounding success, the book became the hot topic of several academic publications including biography studies, academic studies and cultural studies.
Bechdel, Allison. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. Print.
Wikipedia (2013). Fun Home. Web. Retrieved on July 18, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fun_Home.