Cartoonist Alison Bechdel Talks with Katie Roiphe
October 15: 7:00PM – 8:00PM
Graphic illustrator/memoirist Alison Bechdel has quickly moved from a cult hero into the public eye. Her smart, thoughtful, comic and often moving look at family and her funny, open look at lesbian life has made her someone to profile. Even before she became a graphic artist people knew, her famed “Bechdel Test” was all over the internet.
Katie Roiphe has written three books of non-fiction including The Morning After: Fear, Sex and Feminism and more recently Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles 1910-1939, as well as a novel. Her provocative work and outspoken position has made her a kind of cultural lightning rod when it comes to women’s issues.
Buy a copy of the featured book or a $10 Strand gift card at the registers or at the door in order to attend this event. All options admit one person. The event will be located in the Strand's 3rd floor Rare Book Room at our store at 828 Broadway at 12th Street.
Staff PickView All
If you love your mother - or love her, but are confounded by your relationship with her - you should read this book. Alison Bechdel’s “Are You My Mother?”, the successor to her first graphic memoir, “Fun Home”, explores the trajectory of her own mother-daughter relationship, from childhood and into adulthood, and not without dissecting some of Bechdel’s more formative life events, like her father’s death and coming out.
Bechdel is an archivist who writes her memoir in such a way that there is almost a symbiotic need for it to complement some kind of psychoanalytical theory. Just as “Fun Home” deconstructed her need for documenting and archiving so that it recalls Derrida’s “archive fever”, Bechdel riffs off of child psychiatrist Donald Winnicott throughout her memoir.
“Are You My Mother?” chronicles the mother-daughter relationship, using Winnicott’s theories to illuminate Bechdel’s exhausting desire for her mother’s unconditional love and approval. The beautiful, hand-drawn panels add a somewhat devastating effect to her writing: functionally, they add a visual connection to highlight the internal and dream-like episodes she has in interacting with and thinking about her mother. The immediate effect of this is throwing the reader in head first, letting her grow with Bechdel and experience her disappointments and frustrations firsthand.
Whether you’ve experienced an emotionally unavailable mother, or have had a solid relationship with your parents, this book is universally relatable. It’s therapy at a price of $22.00 and, really, who can beat that?