Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
This is the first graphic novel that I counted towards my cannonball counts. I read it because incoming freshmen from Duke University refused to read it. They refused to read it on religious grounds that they felt the book was pornographic. They were not the first college students to reject it. When I was heading into Washington and Lee University, I had to read Italo Calvino’s The Baron in the Trees. It’s about an 18th century noble boy who doesn’t want to eat snails so he goes to live in a fucking tree. It’s the Giving Tree, if it was written by Marcel Proust. FUCK THAT BOOK. So kids had to read this, and they refused.
Fuck you, college students, you entitled little twats. You bitchy little cunts. You fucking useless, anal-retentive, piss-mouthed, shit-licking, closed-minded, fear-mongering fucks. FUCK YOU. Fuck you so hard and so frequently, you have to write poetry about your trigger warnings. Fuck you. I hate you. If you wanted your minds closed and didn’t want to get out of your comfort zones, you should have stayed home. College isn’t for you. Go to fucking Devry. Stay in your small town in your giant church and go fuck yourself. Because hopefully no one fucks you. You don’t deserve to breed or to get the brief awkward release that your vanilla sex would allow you. FUCK YOU.
Fun Home is beautiful and weird and confusing and sad. Everything you want. It’s why I love graphic novels. It’s Bechdel’s autobiography about growing up queer in a central PA home, where she lived with her closeted gay father in the family funeral home. I can’t believe they don’t just teach a course on it. Make the kids read every book she references so that they can appreciate the book more. Wind in the Willows. Shakespeare. Proust. Oscar Wilde. All of that shit. Embrace it. She comes from a literary family, her father a high school English teacher, her mother an actress. And that lays over her life, it influences everything.
Fun Home is great, and should be studied and should be embraced. It’s a less fucked-up-with-incest version of Flowers in the Attic. It’s a gorgeous book, both visually and emotionally. And woe to the little turds who refused it.