Friday, January 17, 2014

Review: Alison Bechdel's Are You My Mother

Here is why I wish we were allowed to order books for classes at the last minute: I would love to use Alison Bechdel's Are You My Mother in the Women's World Lit class I am currently teaching.

Cover

Sadly, I did not get around to reading the novel until a few weeks ago, and our book orders (for this semester) had to be turned in last September.

Well, maybe I can use it in a future class.  It's just excellent.

Like Bechdel's other most famous work, Fun Home, which is the story of her father's suicide, Are You My Mother? is an autobiographical graphic novel.  I think it's much the better book, however.

It's complicated and complex, a very meta work (as the text itself admits), filled with both literary and psychological allusions; mainly, though, it deals with the erasure of women from our own history, from our own field of vision: the way, because our mothers don't see us, we cannot see ourselves (cannot allow ourselves to see ourselves) and how this blindness is passed on, generationally, mother to daughter, like an genetic illness, or a curse.

I've stated very clinically there what Bechdel transmit beautifully, through story and art.  I urge you to ignore my clinical description and read her novel, which I love to bits.

Order here.





3 comments:

Bille Raymond said...

Oh! I want to read this book SO bad. I'm a HUGE fan of Fun Home and I've been wanting to read this for the longest time. Fun Home was a great book anyway. You should do a review of that one too. :-)

Bille Raymond said...

Oh! I want to read this book SO bad. I'm a HUGE fan of Fun Home and I've been wanting to read this for the longest time. Fun Home was a great book anyway. You should do a review of that one too. :-)

Christine Boese said...

You should have SEEN Fun Home at the Public Theater in NYC. It was SO amazing. Are You My Mother is heady in a different way, but I love the way it embraces complexity and psychoanalysis, instead of glossing over it. It's a wonkier read because of it, but still wonderful.

I had copies of both Fun Home and Are You My Mother with me this past summer in Arkansas. Gave them to Kathryn.