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Hype to watch out for: Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and the danger of great expectations - The Annals of Young Geoffrey: Hope brings a turtle [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Young Geoffrey

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Hype to watch out for: Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and the danger of great expectations [Sep. 28th, 2010|01:57 pm]
Young Geoffrey
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(Not-such) Fun hype

As every former child prodigy knows, high expectations are both a blessing and a curse.

A blessing, because past accomplishments open doors which might otherwise stay closed; a curse, because where others are free to hone their craft in obscurity, the prodigy is watched by every critical eye the moment they through that specially-opened portal.

Alison Bechdel was no child prodigy, but she had a long run as a strip cartoonist during which time she was able to hone her craft in a gradually decreasing obscurity with Dykes to Watch Out For, an episodic strip that managed (at least to some extent) to broaden Bechdel's audience from its lesbian (and gay) base to many people who simply liked good comics.

But getting your work noticed by The Comics Journal is not in the same league as creating Time Magazine's Book of the Year for 2006, as Bechdel's first graphic novel, Fun Home, was. My copy opens with three pages of review excerpts containing words like "Masterful" and comparisons to David Sedaris, Charles Dickens and Vladimir Nabokov, among others.

High praise indeed; not many books could live up to it all. Does Bechdel's?

No surprises: it doesn't. So why all the hype?

Read the full review at Edifice Rex Online. This entry was originally posted at http://ed-rex.dreamwidth.org/203719.html. Comment there using OpenID, or here as per normal.


[User Picture]From: jade_noir
2010-09-28 06:38 pm (UTC)
I didn't read the praise but I loved that comic. I read it around when it came out or something so I don't remember much. I just thought it was interesting and well-done. The comparison to David Sedaris sounds pretty gosh-darn accurate in my opinion.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2010-09-28 07:43 pm (UTC)

Who dat?

"Interesting and well-done"? You bet'cha. It's this "best book of 2006" that I have a hard time with.

Sadly, I confess I've never read any Sedaris, so can't comment on the comparison.
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[User Picture]From: jade_noir
2010-09-28 09:44 pm (UTC)

Re: Who dat?

It doesn't take much effort to read Sedaris, he writes vividly entertaining short stories.
I often think back to this one:
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2010-09-28 11:06 pm (UTC)

Re: Who dat?

I admit, I haven't watched the video (I don't do well when listening to fiction; even though I have the conceit that I'm very good at reading out loud), but I'll make a point of looking him up the next time I'm at the library.
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