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“Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home was a pop culture and literary phenomenon. Now, a second thrilling tale of filial sleuthery, this time about her mother: voracious reader, music lover, passionate amateur actor. Also a woman, unhappily married to a closeted gay man, whose artistic aspirations simmered under the surface of Bechdel’s childhood . . . and who stopped touching or kissing her daughter good night, forever, when she was seven. Poignantly, hilariously, Bechdel embarks on a quest for answers concerning the mother-daughter gulf. It’s a richly layered search that leads readers from the fascinating life and work of the iconic twentieth-century psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, to one explosively illuminating Dr. Seuss illustration, to Bechdel’s own (serially monogamous) adult love life. And, finally, back to Mother—to a truce, fragile and real-time, that will move and astonish all adult children of gifted mothers.”

This was very much an expected book from Alison Bechdel. It did not deviate from what I expect her to write, what I expect her to draw, or the topics I expect her to cover. It was a very homey feeling book, but also very off putting. This is a sequel memoir comic to Fun Home.

This comic was about the author’s mother or so it says. Instead the focus of the book doesn’t appear to be the mother, but instead the author trying to deal with an unsatisfactory childhood partly due to a distant mother. The therapists seem to appear more often than the mother does throughout the book, but that makes sense as the mother is distant and the therapists feel more homey.

The story itself was very meta (which the author admits at some point in the book) which can be interesting to read, but it can also be really boring to read. In this care I was bored through most of the book. There were a great deal of Virginia Woolf references and many references to psychoanalytic theorists (generally long winded and tiring theories in the first place).

I felt that the author could have done much more with this book instead of what was produced. I would gladly pick up a third or even a fourth installment of this series of memoir as I am a big fan of Bechdel (especially the lesbian comics her mother didn’t want her to write). The art style was something I could appreciate as it was realistic enough to make the people feel real, but it was also cartoon-ish enough to not look overly creepy. The coloring was the same as I remember from the first installment where color drew the eye where it needed to go. I would gladly read Bechdel’s comics all day, but I would not be able to read this book in one sitting.

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2.5 stars out of 5. I would selectively recommend this book.

You can buy this book here.

~Isaiah

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