Fun Home book club discussion questions
Please be aware that these discussion questions contain spoilers.
Alison Bechdel’s biography, in graphic novel form, contrasts her life with that of her father, Bruce. She considers if her father’s death was a suicide, and if so, was her coming out a causal factor in his death?
- Fun Home is deeply laden with references to earlier literary works, many of which are not studied in the Australian curriculum. Did this make it more difficult to understand the book? Did it give Bechdel’s narratorial voice a particular tone?
- Alison’s life and her father’s reflect each other in many ways, When we say “reflected” we don’t usually mean it: we mean duplicated or copied. How are Alison and Bruce opposites, moving toward the same point?
- Bechdel talks a lot about how her father was gay, but seems to gloss over the pedophilic nature of his relationship with her babysitter. Why do you think this is?
- Alison talks about the catharsis to be found in anger, even violence, after her father’s death. Have you used anger in the same way? Is this a positive use for anger, or a negative one? Does it truly assist grief, or merely delay acceptance?
- The artistic style of the book is very simple: pen drawings similar to newspaper strip comics. Does this enhance or detract from the story? How?
- Bechdel’s narrative has many sections of non-linear time. Did this add to the story or disorient you?