Alison Bechdel's Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic has quickly joined the ranks of celebrated literary graphic novels. Set in part at a family-run funeral home, the book explores Alison's complicated relationship with her father, a closeted gay man. Amid the tensions of her home life, Alison discovers her own lesbian sexuality and her talent for drawing. The coming-of-age story and graphic format appeal to students. However, the book's nonlinear structure; intertextuality with modernist novels, Greek myths, and other works; and frank representations of sexuality and death present challenges in the classroom.
This volume offers strategies for teaching Fun Home in a variety of courses, including literature, women's and gender studies, art, and education. Part 1, "Materials," outlines the text's literary, historical, and theoretical allusions. The essays of part 2, "Approaches," emphasize the work's genres, including autobiography and graphic narrative, as well as its psychological dimensions, including trauma, disability, and queer identity. The essays give options for reading Fun Home along with Bechdel's letters and drafts; her long-running comic strip, Dykes to Watch Out For; the Broadway musical adaptation of the book; and other stories of LGBTQ lives.
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