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Friday, June 29, 2012

Are You My Mother?

I read Alison Bechdel's Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic a couple of years back and fell in love with the book (and the graphic novel genre as well).  It was one of the most affecting and jarring books I had read at the time and I couldn't stop telling people about it.  Are You My Mother is Bechdel's newest about her relationship with her mother.

Bechdel has always had a fraught relationship with her mother, quite a bit of it stemming from her parent's relationship.  Bechdel uses the theories of psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott to frame her coming-of-age story with her mother in this graphic novel.  At a young age her mother told her that she was too old for hugs and kisses, leaving the affection to her younger brothers.  As Alison matures into adulthood and tries to form stable relationships of her own, she sees the effects of this lack of affection taking hold in her everyday life and it's negative effects.

I just think that Bechdel can do no wrong in her novels.  She writes with such pathos and care, and she holds nothing back with her beloved readers.  She cares about sharing her truth and using this medium as a catharsis.  I am grateful for this, as she has created books that keep me reading until I reach the bitter end--there are no breaks for air or for water when reading Bechdel's work. 

I can't recommend Bechdel enough to any reader who wants an emotional and observer experience into relationships that are fraught with missed connections and a deep fear of intimacy.  These books will make you think; these books will make you be grateful for the relationships in your life.

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