|Comic trade paperback, 232 pages|
Published 2007 (originally 2006)
Acquired January 2012
Read March 2012
by Alison Bechdel
Here's the fourth "literary" graphic novel I've reviewed in a row here (I am catching up on my class reading), and though I liked it as much as any of the others, I don't have much to say about its form. Bechdel doesn't do anything groundbreaking with word/image interplay-- indeed, this is a very word-driven comic, with at least one narrative caption overlaid on almost every panel.
But its content got right to me. This is the story of a woman recounting her girlhood in a family where no one ever quite emotionally connected, so much so that she did not know her father was gay until it was too late for that information to ever influence her relationship with him. They're a strange unusual family, and it's one of those books where you can't help thinking of your family the whole time through, and drawing connections, and feeling something as a result. (This may indicate more about me than the book.) Bechdel reminds me of Jeanette Winterson, though not entirely for the most obvious reason.
Likable all the way through, painful when it needs to be, occasionally funny, and the only missed note is really the ending, because it is just obviously false, but I guess that's memoir for you.