Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Hardcover), Mariner Books (Softcover)
Length: 240 p.
A year after her father died, when she was twenty years old, Alison Bechdel was looking through some old family photographs and found one of a young man in his underwear. She recognized him as a student of her father’s and a family babysitter. She also came across a photo of her father as a young man, wearing a woman’s bathing suit. There were also snapshots of her mother over the years, in which her expression transformed vividly from hopefulness to resignation to bitterness. Alison found her own childhood pictures, of a girl who looked like a boy. She knew that these snapshots conveyed much more information than she suspected, and there was a deeper story begging to be told, about a daughter who inadvertently “outs” her gay father, who meets a tragic end. But the painful circumstances that make her story so compelling also rendered her incapable of telling it for a long time. Alison was inhibited not just by the shock of her father’s death, but by the impact of his life — his domination and deception, and the alternately encouraging and crushing influence that he had on her creativity. In her early twenties she attempted, in prose, to tell her part of the tale, but it eluded her. Instead, she turned her creative efforts to an entirely different project: drawing a comic strip, Dykes to Watch Out For. Years have passed, and Alison is now a comic artist with a cult following. Her strip is syndicated in fifty newspapers and she has a quarter of a million books in print. And she is finally ready to tell her own story. Through twenty years of social change, Alison’s accomplished drawing skills, and her wizened emotional perspective comes Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic.