Not All Fun In Fun Home
Most people know about lesbian goddess Alison Bechdel from her eponymous Bechdel Test,
her long-running cartoon strip, Dykes to Watch Out For,
or from her first graphic memoir, Fun Home, which weaves the story of her gay father's suicide and her own coming out as a lesbian, the best-seller and later Tony award winning musical.
But what most people don't know is that in 2006, the year of Fun Home's publication, not everyone in the family was happy about Bechdel's book. Bechdel writes in her second memoir, Are You My Mother?, about her mother's issues with the book,
but the public has been largely clueless about another family member's criticism, Bechdel's sister-in-law, Leanne Keefer Bechdel.
The year Fun Home was published, Keefer Bechdel posted a memorial page for her late father-in-law, Bruce, on findagrave.com. In it, she claims that her mother-in-law, the late Helen Fontana Bechdel, passed down Bruce's genealogy discoveries to her. One wonders if Alison had seen these records.
Keefer Bechdel writes that because of the documents she had seen, she dismisses "the suicide theory," and that in contrast to Fun Home, her memorial serves to be a "positive tribute to his life for the sake of his grandchildren."
Keefer Bechdel believes that Bruce "was struck and killed by a truck," whereas in her memoir, Bechdel writes that while there is no proof that her father committed suicide, "there are some suggestive circumstances," like her mother's request for a divorce two weeks prior, and her father's reading Camus' A Happy Death. In the memoir she also says "I don't believe it was an accident." In Fun Home the musical, and in interviews with Bechdel, Bruce's erratic behavior before his death is fleshed out and is another contributing factor in Bechdel's belief.
The only thing I have to say to Leanne Keefer Bechdel is to call me when her book comes out.