Best Freshman Read

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

Staff Pick

Every year, the College of Charleston picks a book to distribute to incoming freshmen and invites the author to give a talk on campus. For the class of 2017, that book was Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, Alison Bechdel's award-winning memoir in the style of a graphic novel. The book, which portrays Bechdel's childhood with a closeted gay father and her own eventual coming-out as a lesbian in college, raised the hackles of certain conservative Christian groups and eventually led state lawmakers to punitively slash the college's budget. We took the chance to actually read the book, and you know what, it's really compelling. The writing is rich and allusive, the story tugged at our heartstrings, and the visual style accentuated rather than distracted from the character development. Bechdel's frequent references to Proust almost made us want to read Remembrance of Things Past (almost). It was emphatically not pornographic. And besides, if freshmen want to find some real smut, we're pretty sure they'd know where to find it.
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