It is the end of the semester and we as a class have ended it with “Fun Home.” I wish I could say that I had enjoyed it. Unfortunately the book was too full of literary references that went over my head and a plot that went around in circles analyzing the author’s life and relationships continuously. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change anything about the book. I’m not saying that it should dumb itself down to accommodate me, what it amounts to is that it was just not my “thing.” It isn’t a book I would normally read, nor is it the kind of book I ever see myself reading again. But sometimes that can be a good thing, to broaden one’s mind and view; even if you hate it every step of the way. I would recommend this book to an English major or a psychology major, or maybe even a conflict analysis major.
It may have suffered in my eyes due to the poor timing of when it was being read. Reading a book that has relatively no impact on studies while juggling a multitude of papers, tests, a job, and other assignments (I myself have locked myself away for the past three days to work on an extensive paper which still has to be proofread and submitted within a couple days).
For those that decide to click that special “reply” button attached to this post, not only do I ask you to reply with your thoughts on “Fun Home,” but with your thoughts on everything else that we have read this semester. A list of what you liked most and what you liked least, and your reasoning behind your order.
1. Frank Miller, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (1986)
-This was my favorite out of all the books that we read. It was a good start for my transition as a film minded person to a graphic novel minded person. Using a subject matter I was very familiar with and adding an excellent story and beautiful (in its own way) artwork made this a very pleasurable read.
2. Art Spiegelman, Maus Boxset (1986)
-While not my favorite to read, I have to say that Maus was probably the best written. The story was heart-wrenching and not only dealt with the events of the holocaust, but of those between the author and his father. Maybe I just enjoy it when stories break the forth wall from time to time, but I felt that everything was realistic (if you ignore the fact that every person was an animal) and well put together. Some people complained about the artwork in Maus, but I think that the monochromatic and shaky style adds an extra layer to this piece.
3. Gene Luen Yang, American Born Chinese (2006)
-Sometimes, you need a break from all the gloom and doom of everything in the world, and this was the only comic that we read that provided that comic relief to an otherwise bleak list of readings. Or maybe it’s because I find racism funny.
4. Junji Ito, Uzumaki (1998)
-Since for the class we were only required to read the first book, I am only judging the first book. It was refreshing to have a look into another culture’s drawing style and the story was rather creepy at some parts. The only reason that this book is low-ish on the list is because the first book didn’t really have an overarching story; it felt more like an anthology of short stories that all had a related theme. If you include the second and third books, this would go up at least one spot on my list as the third book really ties all of what has happened together (and having an ending is fun!) If you did not read the second or third books, I strongly urge that you do.
5. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Watchmen (1986)
-Unfortunately, this is probably low on my list because of the movie. I just hate hearing stories that I already know. I enjoyed the differences that were in the book, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of “I already know all of this.” I still enjoyed it, but probably not as much as I could have.
On a side note, this book was actually recommended to me back in high school, but when I flipped through it, I just did not like the art style at all. I’m probably the only one that thinks that this book was just ugly, but that can make all the difference in how much something can be enjoyed.
6. Chris Ware, Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth (2000)
-I will probably get a lot of flak for not having this closer to the very bottom of the list, but once you get past the first half and find out how it all ties together, it isn’t a half bad story. I just wish the publisher knew how to paste a book together.
7. Marjane Satrapi, The Complete Persepolis (2000-2003)
-Here is another unfortunate victim of “already know what’s going to happen.” Having seen the movie before reading it, Persepolis was a slow read of comparing scenes to the movie (and frankly, the artwork in the movie was much better in my opinion). The other nail in this coffin is the second book of the two part series. I just plain didn’t like it and didn’t care about what was going on, but to be fair, I felt the same way for the second half of the movie version.
8. Alison Bechdel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (2006)
-As I have already stated, this book just wasn’t my kind of thing.
9. Wilfred Santiago, In My Darkest Hour (2004)
-This was by far the worst book of the semester. It had terrible artwork, a non-sensical plot, and it suffered from D.G.A.S.S. (Don’t Give A Shit Syndrome). Maybe I didn’t give the book enough time or attention, but I just didn’t care enough to give it more time than I had to.
(For the purposes of this list, I have not included “Understanding Comics” as that book was more of a guide to comics rather than a story. Feel free to include it in your list if you feel it necessary.)