What is up Rose Readers? So yesterday I wrote a post about National Library Week in which I shared a video from the library where I work and got all braggy and inspiring and shit. And then at the end of the post I spontaneously decided I was going to do a new post each day this week relating to the Instagram challenge of the day. So, here I am! Day 1 and so far keeping my spontaneous promise!
Today’s challenge is to post a picture of you reading a banned/challenged book. Here’s mine:
The book is Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, and it is the best graphic work I have ever read. Funny story: I haven’t blogged about Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home or Are You My Mother?, but I’ve had a Fun Home/Are You My Mother? post in my drafts for over a year. I read Fun Home like a year or two ago now and was waiting to read the second one before I did a post on it… I didn’t read the second one until January of this year. So here I am finally writing about it!
Fun Home is a graphic memoir by/about Alison Bechdel (of the Bechdel Test) growing up in a restored Victorian house in a family that owned a funeral home (so the title kinda plays double duty). Alison Bechdel is a lesbian, and there is some sexual content in the book, hence it being on the ALA’s 2015 top-10 banned and challenged book list. In Fun Home, Alison grapples with her father’s death, which she supposes was a suicide. She explores her relationship with her father and his relationship with her and her mother and his male lover. It’s filled with literary references and parallels that Bechdel draws between her father and famous writers and fictional characters. Are You My Mother? on the other hand is about Alison’s relationship with her mother (surprise), and it’s interesting because she talks about the struggles of writing Fun Home in this second book and her mother’s feelings about airing out private family hardships to the world. So if you’re thinking of reading these (which you should be!), you should definitely read Fun Home first.
I preferred Fun Home to Are You My Mother? because, simply put, Fun Home is to literature geeks as Are You My Mother? is to psychology geeks. I am obviously a literature geek, so I loved and understood all of the references she made in Fun Home, whereas a lot of Are You My Mother? was lost on me. Both books are incredibly intelligently written and at times quite challenging. But as I said, Fun Home is probably the best graphic work I’ve ever read and that is because of Bechdel’s writing style. There’s no other way to describe it other than “brilliant.” The way she strings sentences together is stunning, and her structure is almost cinematic. The extended references and metaphors she runs throughout the narrative are seamless and complex. It’s a beautiful thing.
Also Fun Home was made into a musical and I WANT TO SEE IT SO BAD. Anyway, what’s your favorite banned/challenged book?
See you tomorrow! (Probably…)