1book140's September Read: Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

Join our Twitter book club to read the comic artist's coming-of-age memoir.

Join our Twitter book club to read the graphic memoir Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, one of more than 20 fantastic nominations for our LGBTQ month at @1book140.

Fun Home charts Bechdel's childhood in small-town Pennsylvania and her fraught relationship with her father, an English teacher and undertaker at the funeral home that her family sardonically calls the "Fun Home." Soon after coming out as lesbian herself, Bechdel discovers that her father is gay. His death soon after causes her to deeply reflect, and the memoir reinterprets their shared story through her memories, the artifacts her father left behind, and Bechdel's growing recognition of her sexuality.

The possibility, risk, and evocative mystery of books is the currency of relationships throughout Bechdel's memoir. Just what can we tell about someone we thought we knew, or even ourselves, from the library books we check out, the passages we mark, the books we share with each other? Fun Home reinterprets Bechdel's coming-of-age through the lens of the novels in her life and the works that influenced their authors in turn.

Fun Home has won numerous accolades, including an Eisner Award, Time Magazine's book of the year, and a Lambda Literary Award. The graphic memoir has also been adapted into a critically acclaimed musical. That show is moving to Broadway in April 2015. In an Atlantic interview with Alyssia Abbott last year, Bechdel talked about the experience of seeing her memoir onstage.

To create Fun Home, Bechdel conducted in-depth visual and historical research into her past life. She visited sites important to her childhood, looked up retro fashion and architectural details, and even posed for herself to get her own angular features right. Learn more about Bechdel's creative process in this fantastic interview with MINDTV35, Philadelphia's independent TV station:
Last month, we also voted on a reading weekend dedicated to #1book140 participant Patricia Rosier, who passed away earlier this year. A celebrated feminist leader in New Zealand, Rosier hosted Bechdel this past March during the Wellington Writers week. Bechdel also blogged about her time in New Zealand, posting a photo of a cake frosted with characters from the comic strip that launched her career, Dykes To Watch Out For.

Reading Schedule for Fun Home

To participate, follow us at @1book140 and tweet to join the conversation so we know that you're reading along. To avoid spoilers, we spread the conversation across several hashtags. Click on each hashtag to see the conversation at that point in the book:
  • Week One: Chapters 1-2, using #1b140_1 as a hashtag for your tweets
  • Week Two: Chapters 3-4, using #1b140_2
  • Week Three: Chapters 5-6, using #1b140_3
  • Week Four: Chapter 7, #1b140_4