Graphic Novel Adaption Captures A Tragicomical Life

Paige Moran

Staff Writer

I have never been into graphic novels until I had to read one for a class. I ended up loving it and have read many more since then.

“Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic,” by Alison Bechdel, is a story about Bechdel’s life. When she was younger, her father took over the family tradition of running the family funeral home.

Though funeral homes are depressing and saddening to many people, Alison and her two brothers made the best out of their situation.

They were able to make the funeral home a fun home by playing around in it and even sleeping over with their grandmother in the upstairs bedroom.

Her father loved to restore homes. It was a big passion of his. One day, however, while he is restoring a home, he walks across the street to toss some weeds and gets hit by a bread truck.

This story is not a linear story and it jumps all over the place. It is told from when she was a child and her father was still alive to the present. It might seem a little confusing at first, but if it was told linearly it would be such a great book.

We are able to see Alison looking back on her life and we watch her connect the dots about her father’s life.

Very early in the book, we find out that Alison’s father, a high school English teacher, is having, what we are led to believe, consensual affairs with teenage boys.

This is why Alison is led to believe he committed suicide by jumping in front of the truck rather than it being a freak accident.

Throughout the novel, not only do we watch Alison come to terms with her father’s sexuality and death, but with her own sexuality too.

This novel’s panels are colored with the same shade with small variations to the opacity. There has to be a reason why she used the same color throughout the whole book.

Is it because blue has a tendency to be linked with emotions such as sadness or depression?

Bechdel came out with a sequel called “Are You My Mother?” that I have yet to read and this novel’s color scheme is red. It is amazing how her drawings in both books can be so beautiful while only using one shade.

Does the name Alison Bechdel ring a bell? Writing a graphic novel is not the only thing she has done.

First, she has created a musical out of her novel. If you’re not into graphic novels then go and check out the Broadway musical it is based on.

Secondly, she created the Bechdel Test. Bechdel created this test for movies.

Basically, if there is a conversation between two female characters about anything other than men, it gets green light on the test.

You wouldn’t believe how many movies have failed this test. In recent times, it has definitely gotten better.

If you check out the website www.bechdeltest.com, you can check the list out for yourself.

Movies like “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” have unfortunately failed the test. And ones like “A Star Is Born” and “A Wrinkle in Time” has passed.

Bechdel is not only an award-winning novelist but also created something that will change the way we see movies forever.

Email Paige at:

pmoran9@live.esu.edu

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