Favorite Quotes

"For my totem, the alley cat. We share the situation of small predators who easily become prey. I have my equivalent of claws and teeth, and indeed my arched back and loud hiss are my best defenses. When I need to hide my size and weakness, I can look fiercer than I am, but when I cannot talk or threaten or argue my way out of trouble, then I am in a lot of trouble. We are scavengers in the alleys and streets of a society we do not control and scarcely influence. We survive and perish both by taking lovers. Freedom is a daily necessity like water, and we love most loyally and longest those who allow us at least occasionally to vanish and wander the curious night. To them we always return from the eight deaths before the last."

from Braided Lives by Marge Piercy

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Are You My Mother? a comic drama

Title: Are You My Mother? a comic drama
By: Alison Bechdel

Are You My Mother?

What an amazing find! I picked up this graphic narrative because the title evokes the children’s book classic Are You My Mother? in which a baby bird wanders around questioning everyone it meets. Bechdel’s cover art -- a vanity, makeup, jewelry -- is our first cue this will be an adult treatment of the question.

Bechdel digs into her relationship with her mother, sharing dreams, insights from therapy, and memories. She has a superb knack for synthesizing and presenting psychological concepts so clearly and concisely that before you know it you are right back into the flow of the story. The poignancy of her writing is matched by the sensitivity of her graphic illustrations.

Fun Home: a Family Tragicomic

After being wowed by Are You My Mother? I had to read this earlier graphic narrative about Bechdel’s father. In her skillful way, she uses characters and scenes from classic literature to illustrate various troubling or puzzling passages of her family’s life. Authors mentioned include Proust, Camus, and Fitzgerald. Bechdel’s book lives up to its title; her father runs a Fun(eral) Home and meets a tragic end. The stories and images used to evoke Bechdel’s emotional life combine to make this graphic memoir a gripping experience.

View similarly tagged posts: biography, graphic novel

Posted by April on Sept. 21, 2013 at 8:35 a.m.
1 Comment


October 31, 2013 at 12:49 p.m.:

A musical based on Fun Home is getting high praise; see http://nyti.ms/1bUIcuW for the NY Times review.

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