I wasn’t exactly sure what to think of Bechdel’s “Fun Home”. It was quite a confusing and cryptic graphic novel, in the sense that it consisted mostly of strange anecdotes and references to different pieces of literature throughout each chapter. The first reference was about Icarus, and this reference was used as a metaphor for Bechdel’s father. Frankly speaking, the entirety of the first three chapters made me feel uncomfortable.
Seeing such a family dynamic, where the parents were not ‘in love’ and the children were treated with harsh consequences as a result of not complying to the father’s rules, made me feel discomfort in a way that I haven’t experienced before. Perhaps it was the case that I predicted that the father had a sexual history that was going to be unfolded, or perhaps it was the inclusion of images that seemed normal, but were accompanied by disturbing captions. Either way, whether it was the storyline or the format of the novel, I felt a distinct disgust at the reveal of the reality of the father’s history.
Additionally, I could sense that the father’s obsession with renovating the house and reading books had a largely negative impact on his relationship with the mother. Bechdel made it clear that there was distance between the father and the rest of the family, but there was a primary emphasis on the lack of classic relationship tropes between the father and the mother – namely, their relationship was mostly businesslike. This made me feel even more discomfort as I was unsure of what the dynamic was truly supposed to be a reflection of.