Are You My Mother?

A Comic Drama

Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Are You My Mother?
From the best-selling author of Fun Home , Time magazine's No. 1 Book of the Year, a brilliantly told graphic memoir of Alison Bechdel becoming the artist her mother wanted to be. Alison Bechdel's Fun Home was a pop culture and literary phenomenon. Now, a second thrilling tale of filial sleuthery, this time about her mother: voracious reader, music lover, passionate amateur actor. Also a woman, unhappily married to a closeted gay man, whose artistic aspirations simmered under the surface of Bechdel's childhood . . . and who stopped touching or kissing her daughter good night, forever, when she was seven. Poignantly, hilariously, Bechdel embarks on a quest for answers concerning the mother-daughter gulf. It's a richly layered search that leads readers from the fascinating life and work of the iconic twentieth-century psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, to one explosively illuminating Dr. Seuss illustration, to Bechdel's own (serially monogamous) adult love life. And, finally, back to Mother--to a truce, fragile and real-time, that will move and astonish all adult children of gifted mothers.

Published: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.
ISBN: 0618982507
Branch Call Number: GN ARE
Characteristics: 286 p. :,chiefly ill. ;,24 cm.


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Sep 14, 2014
  • tegan rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I didn't love this book. There was too much focus on psychoanalyst Winnicott and author Virginia Wolfe. I wasn't overly interested in the history of these two people.

Every chapter started with a dream sequence, then Bechdel would recount pieces of her personal life with her mother, psychiatrist and girlfriends over the years.

The story felt too choppy to me, with Bechdel continuously dividing her time between all of these different focuses.

Jul 12, 2014
  • monicacole rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

A few days after reading Fun Home (by the same author), I randomly found this book at the library, and checked it out. This is the perfect followup to Fun Home. It was well researched, beautifully drawn, and remarkably easy to understand, despite the nonlinear storytelling style. Alison's journey through depression, relationships, her own emotions, and most of all, her relationship with her mother is a thought provoking ride for any reader. I found it very relatable personally, and I suspect many people would, whatever their background.

Jul 04, 2014

I like the style, artwork, and tone, but the story gets a bit too introspective/self analytic for me. I couldn't finish it.

Jun 13, 2014

NYPL Staff Pick
A cartoonist explores why the intersection of her mother’s life, her own psyche, and her relationship with her mother make her the person she is.
- Selection Team

Jan 19, 2014
  • kpb98 rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

i was intrigued by the title so i checked it out. although the art was good, i was disappointed. it is a very self-absorbed text and who really wants to read near-transcripts of someone's therapy sessions? this goes on for many pages. also very heavy on psychological texts, which was ok. i think i'll try funhome instead next time

Dec 06, 2013

Aww i remember readin this book to my son, its really nice indeed.. are you my mother? lol

Dec 06, 2013
  • SkycycleX2 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I love Alison Bechdel's other graphic memoir, "Fun Home" and that's why I looked forward to reading "Are You My Mother?" I was disappointed. Where "Fun Home" draws the reader into the world and mind of its creator and her father by presenting her family's fascinating story, "Are You My Mother?" never lets the reader in. While "Fun Home" constructs compelling portraits through specific memories and personal research, "Are You My Mother?" builds a wall between the reader and its subjects by dragging us through Bechdel's psychoanalysis sessions, her memories of dreams, coincidences, seemingly unrelated occurences and reprints of psychoanalytical texts. The whole book felt to me like sitting in on someone else's long psychoanalysis sessions. But I'm not an analyst, I'm a reader. I wanted to read a story about Bechdel and her mother, not analyze them. I read the entire book because I care about the characters, the artist/author and her mother, from reading "Fun Home." But I never became involved in the story of "Are You My Mother?" and reading it became a chore. While I can't recommend this book, I highly recommend "Fun Home."

Oct 16, 2013
  • ELIZABETH M. HOLDEN rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Another book to prove that the graphic narrative form is a brilliant way to write autobiography.

But this account of Alison Bechdel's relationship with her mother is not really about her mother, but about her relationship with herself. It's about two women tied by blood and common interests, who communicate with difficulty. It's about therapy and sexual orientation and about growing up in the late 20th century.

Substantial and fun.

Jun 15, 2013
  • JCLBeckyC rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Bechdel is the author of the amazing graphic memoir "Fun Home" in which she explores her relationship with her closeted homosexual father. Here she focuses on her relationship with her mother. Introspective, insightful, witty, and literary. Recommended for those with an interest in dysfunctional family relationships.

May 01, 2013
  • kimmitt rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Just the very best. An exploration of how trauma ripples down generations in a family and how self-expression is the only real means of breaking the cycle.

I'm not doing it justice. Bechdel examines herself with an artist's eye, wondering why she is who she is. It is the best of biography, cartooning, and psychoanalysis, all in one.

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