Are You My Mother?

Are You My Mother?: A Comic DramaAre You My Mother?: A Comic Drama by Alison Bechdel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This sequel to FUN HOME follows Bechdel into adulthood and explores her fraught relationship with her emotionally distant mother, a mother who had been raised to believe boys were more important than girls. While I loved FUN HOME unequivocally, this one didn’t affect me quite as strongly. Bechdel spends more time on her own psychotherapeutic history and the story of psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott than on her family life, which for me was what made FUN HOME so interesting. Regardless, ARE YOU MY MOTHER is actually quite good and succeeded in keeping my attention, perhaps thanks to my own interest in psychology. The art is as good and evocative as it was in FUN HOME, as is Bechdel’s storytelling. I suspect what disappointment I have with the memoir, which is actually quite minimal, stems solely from the fact that it doesn’t tell the story I wanted it to. Because FUN HOME was so focused on Bechdel’s memories of her father while growing up, I wanted the same thing here but with a focus on memories of her mother. That’s not what this is. ARE YOU MY MOTHER is a different kind of book altogether. Not a worse one, not a lesser one, just a different one — although, admittedly, one that didn’t grip me as strongly.

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