‘Fun Home’


Recently we discussed free speech and its limits. (here, and here)

The French edition of Fun Home, published by É...

The French edition of Fun Home, published by Éditions Denoël (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Inside Higher Ed has a couple of related pieces:
Not So ‘Fun Home’: Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic has won numerous accolades and its stage adaptation swept this summer’s Tony Awards. The book is an autobiographical meditation on love, family and identity, and with its constant references to Greek mythology and literary greats from Shakespeare to James Joyce, it’s not hard to see why it was Duke University’s recommended summer reading for incoming freshmen. But some students are objecting to the novel’s depictions of lesbian sexuality, arguing that the book is borderline pornographic and they shouldn’t have been asked to read it.
• Teaching ‘Fun Home’: Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir Fun Home has received critical raves. A musical adaptation has become a Broadway smash. Despite these successes, some students in Duke University’s incoming class refused to read Fun Home when it was placed on their recommended summer reading list. Citing the book’s acceptance of lesbian identity, these students said they believe that exposing themselves to Bechdel’s story will violate their Christian morals. As a professor who has taught Fun Home in his classes for years, I would advise these students to rethink their positions. Most of my students who have engaged with Fun Home find many connections to Bechdel’s autobiography and are moved by it. Although her story may be unfamiliar, her work has much to offer, both emotionally and educationally.
Both pieces are interesting and worth the time to read. Anyone read the book? What do you think of it? Should there be limits on what is taught at post-secondary institutions?

2 thoughts on “‘Fun Home’

  1. I was in high school in the 1950s when I read Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Peyton Place, and Sons and Lovers. Would Duke students today refuse to read those books, too? They do have the religious right to not read books that offend them. And other students have the right to read books like Fun Home. However, Fun Home was banned last year at the College of Charleston, because the South Carolina House of Representatives cut more than $50,000 from the the college’s reading program. By the way, September 27–October 3, 2015 is Banned Books Week.


    Liked by 1 person

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