Are You My Mother?: A Comic DramaBook |
Somebody wants their mommy.
After writing about her father's troubled life and suicide in her last book, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, for her follow-up Alison Bechdel turns to her other parent, with whom she has long shared a difficult relationship. In the new graphic novel Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama, she attempts to come to terms with the cool and distant attitude that her mother, Helen, often displayed toward her, and with the powerful feelings she has held for her since infancy. While Bechdel is ostensibly on a quest, both the journey and destination are largely in her mind, and the narrative is therefore free to go in a myriad of directions and even double back on itself. Her guides through the labyrinth include writers and psychoanalysts whom she has adopted as surrogate mothers - in particular, Virginia Woolf and Donald Winnicott, the latter of whom pioneered highly-influential theories about parent/child relationships. Armed with their knowledge, Bechdel examines and re-examines such traumatic incidents as her mother's uncomfortable reaction to her being a lesbian, and finds alternate motivations each time she looks. As was the case in Fun Home, the artwork is painstakingly detailed; however, what makes the author's work truly fascinating is her compulsive need to create connections, whether between dream sequences and present-day reality, or the events in Bechdel's life versus her mother's. Ultimately, it's debatable whether Are You My Mother? is a labor of love or obsession, but either way it's a compelling read.
blog comments powered by Disqus