Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
Read with: a dictionary (for me at least)
I've never been drawn to graphic novels and only read this book when a friend strongly recommended it to me. I can say now that I've been ignorant to think that they're always less stimulating or shallow when compared to novels.
It's essentially a memoir of Bechdel's childhood growing up with her distant, seemingly unloving father and her struggles in coming to terms their relationship. All this is placed within the context of her own coming of age experiences in relation to her sexuality.
All I can say that it's one of the most whitty, poignant, and emotionally complex books I've ever read. The quite heavy issues it deals with (dysfunctional family dynamics, death, loss of innocence) are offset by the naturally relaxed feel of the illustrations. The artwork is so detailed and immeasurably adds to the experience of entering Bechdel's world.
The book does not present any form of resolution so it's up to the reader to come up with his or her own among the layered, which sometimes seems inexplicably mundane, storytelling. It's impossible to read the book without reevaluating what role you play in your family and society.