An expansive, moving and captivating graphic memoir from 'one of the finest cartoonists at work today'.
Alison Bechdel's Fun Home was a literary phenomenon: 'an extraordinarily intimate account of family secrets that manages to be shocking, unsettling and life-affirming at the same time', as Sarah Walters wrote in the Guardian. The Times said it was 'incontestibly the graphic book of the year', while the Observer recently chose it as one of the ten best graphic novels ever published.
While Fun Home explored Bechdel's relationship with her father, a closeted homsexual, this new memoir is about her mother - a voracious reader, a music lover, a passionate amateur actor. Also a woman, unhappily married to a gay man, whose artistic aspirations simmered under the surface of Bechdel's childhood... and who stopped touching or kissing her daughter goodnight, for ever, when she was seven. Poignantly, hilariously, Bechdel embarks on a quest for answers concerning the mother-daughter gulf.
It's a richly layered search that leads readers from the fascinating life and work of psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott to one explosively illuminating Dr Seuss illustration, to Bechdel's own (serially monogamous) love life. And, finally, back to Mother - to a truce, fragile and real-time, that will move and astonish all adult children of gifted mothers.
“Fun Home and Are You My Mother? are the kind of head-spinningly thoughtful and textured works that make you rejoice in the comic-book form.”
“I emotionally lost myself in this book… It made me realise that people aren’t always perfect.”
Tavi Gevinson, ELLE
“Are You My Mother? is a work of the most humane kind of genius, bravely going right to the heart of things: why we are who we are. It's also incredibly funny. And visually stunning. And page-turningly addictive. And heartbreaking.”
Jonathan Safran Foer
“It’s a beautiful (and beautifully illustrated) look at the complexity and dysfunctionality of family through a unique lens – and frames things in such a way that you can’t help but re-examine your own relationships, too.”
Emily Reynolds, Stylist
“As absorbing as it is graced with a deceptive lightness of touch, it is clever, brilliantly pieced together, and utterly unusual.”
Robert Collins, Sunday Times
“One of the chief pleasures of this book is how the words and pictures collaborate to gesture at a territory that neither might reach alone.”
Tim Martin, Telegraph
“Many of us are living out the unlived lives of our mothers. Alison Bechdel has written a graphic novel about this, sort of like a comic book by Virginia Woolf. You won't believe it until you read it - and you must!”
Lisa Appiganesi, Observer
“Bechdel’s engaging, original graphic memoir explores her troubled relationship with her distant mother.”
New York Times
“A complex, fascinating and intellectually rich memoir.”
Larushka Ivan-Zadek, Metro
“Very original and arresting.”
Cressida Connelly, Spectator
“Throughout, there are magnificent feats of connectivity, startlingly complex internal monologues that unfold with perfect simplicity… I haven’t encountered a book about being an artist, or about the punishing entanglements of mothers and daughters, as engaging, profound or original as this one in a long time.”
Rev’d Katie Roiphe, Scotsman
“Lively, fresh and expressive…humane, complex and beautiful.”
Anna Carey, Irish Times
“Don’t let the cartoons fool you, this is an exciting and intelligent book and, at many points, highly moving. It doesn’t just tell Alison’s story, Are You My Mother? allows to you to think about your own.”
“Find everything this author has written. Every jot she makes on the paper enriches the baroque, painful, exhilarating story she has to tell.”
Candia McWilliam, Scotsman
“It’s first and foremost funny, using graphical and verbal tricks to express the psychological dramas of an American household.”