When Fun Home landed in 2006, Alison Bechdel was best known for her newspaper comic strip, Dykes to Watch Out For. Fun Home suddenly turned her into a best-selling and critically acclaimed author, landing her on best-of-year lists all over the place: The New York Times, Publishers Weekly. It was about her father’s not-quite-repressed homosexuality and suspected suicide, went on to win a bunch of awards, but abjectly failed to do what Bechdel had originally set out to do: “I had this fantasy that this book was going to heal us and bring us all together. I was going to tell the truth and everything would be out in the open.
That didn’t happen.”
And then earlier this year, she went and did it again with Are You My Mother? – another memoir, this time focusing on her (still alive) mother. “It’s a strange, exhibitionistic streak in a person who … I consider myself pretty shy and retiring. I don’t know why I’m compelled to reveal these things in public.”
“I learned during the research for Are You My Mother?, and also instinctively from my experience being a human, [that] mothers are just more difficult than fathers. It’s a much more fraught and complex relationship for everyone whether you’re male or female because this is someone who you’re physically a part of. And so it became very confounding for me, trying to sort that out. The psychoanalyst who I write a lot about in the book, Winnicott, wrote that the mother must be dismantled whereas the father can be murdered. And I feel like somehow I murdered my dad, and that was really a walk in the park. That was so much easier than dismantling my mother.”
There are reviews of her latest everywhere, and here is just one of them.
Alison Bechdel will be here to sign copies of any and all of her books on Tuesday, November 13th, 5pm to 7pm. Don’t miss it.
Alison Bechdel Signing
Dykes To Watch Out For – Fun Home – Are You My Mother?
5pm – 7pm
Gosh! Comics, Soho.