Maribou (maribou) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

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Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama, by Alison Bechdel
I was too affected by this book to talk directly about why it meant so much to me, but here's a thing I noticed: In Fun Home, the images are often very object-oriented (you frequently see what the character is looking at), while the words carry the lion's share of emotion and meaning. That still happens in this book, but more often the words are either distanced themselves, or so rawly honest that they create distance in the reader, while Bechdel's images of the characters' faces and bodies carry their feelings and even the story arc. (It's both/and in both cases, but the balance is different.) This approach dovetails with the ideas in some of the theoretical texts she chose to include, about people cutting themselves off from their bodies and living in an analytical mind, and about false selves, so I suspect it was a purposeful choice. Perhaps some of the negative reviewers relied too much on the text and didn't spend enough time with the pictures? In any case, I thought it was absolutely a brilliant book; I read it in 2 breath-holding hours, and I will be revisiting it later this summer, when I can spend more time scrutinizing each panel without being so swept up.

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