Join us for our next book in the Rubber Banned Book Club!



Alison Bechdel’s groundbreaking, bestselling graphic memoir charts her fraught relationship with her late father. Distant and exacting, Bruce Bechdel was an English teacher and director of the town funeral home, which Alison and her family referred to as the “Fun Home.” It was not until college that Alison, who had recently come out as a lesbian, discovered that her father was also gay. A few weeks after this revelation, he was dead, leaving a legacy of mystery for his daughter to resolve.

In her hands, personal history becomes a work of amazing subtlety and power, written with controlled force and enlivened with humor, rich literary allusion, and heartbreaking detail.


Fun Home has been challenged for the very reason it so remarkable: it is an unflinching look at sexuality and repression, and at the same time a treatise on how reading can save your life. It is interesting to look at the language used when challenging Fun Home. In 2006, in Marshall, Missouri, it was attacked for being “pornography” and was temporarily removed from the library. More troubling, in 2013, the College of Charleston in South Carolina, included the book in its incoming freshman reading list. “Family” groups protested the inclusion as “pornographic” and the state legislature cut the school’s budget by $52,000, the exact amount the summer reading program cost. At least the legislators didn’t hide behind “adult content” or “pornography,” instead coming right out with their homophobia, one saying the university was “promoting the gay and lesbian lifestyle,” another saying, “This book trampled on freedom of conservatives.” Source: Pen America

Admission is free. There are 2 sessions. Professional artists will read aloud sections of the book and members discuss.

June 25 (6:30-8:00pm) – meet at the theater (5627 N Lincoln, Chicago).
July 23 (6:30-8:00pm Central) – meet via Zoom.


ALISON BECHDEL (she/her) – is an American cartoonist and graphic novelist who was perhaps best known for the comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For (1983–2008)—which introduced the so-called Bechdel Test, which evaluates movies on the basis of gender inequality—and the graphic memoir Fun Home (2006). Bechdel’s parents were teachers, and her father was a part-time funeral director (the funeral home was nicknamed the “fun home” by Bechdel and her siblings). When Bechdel was 19 years old, just months after she had revealed to her parents that she was a lesbian, her father was struck and killed by a truck, an event that Bechdel later theorized was actually an act of suicide. After she earned a B.A. (1981) from Oberlin College, she moved to New York City.

In 1983 Bechdel began writing and drawing Dykes to Watch Out For, a comic strip that soon became a mainstay in gay and alternative news weeklies across the United States. Dykes to Watch Out For ran for 25 years, with Bechdel self-syndicating the strip and eventually publishing it on the Internet. There the strip gained new life, and one particular cartoon would embed Bechdel’s name in the popular culture lexicon. In the 1985 strip “The Rule,” a character states that she will watch a movie only if it has at least two women who talk to each other about a topic other than men. In the 21st century those guidelines became known as the Bechdel Test, a shorthand method to illustrate the dramatic gender disparity in Hollywood. (Bechdel herself preferred to call it the Bechdel-Wallace Test to acknowledge the friend who inspired “The Rule”). Bechdel published a number of Dykes to Watch Out For printed collections, and although the strip’s main character bore a passing resemblance to her, the comic was not overtly autobiographical. The series ended in 2008.

In 2006 Bechdel published the graphic memoir Fun Home, a coming-of-age story that detailed her relationship with her father, a closeted gay man with an obsessive eye for decorative detail, and her own emerging lesbian consciousness. The critically acclaimed work was named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and it won the Eisner—the most-prestigious award in the comics industry—for best reality-based work. In October 2013 Fun Home was brought to the stage by Lisa Kron (book) and Jeanine Tesori (score, with Kron). It captured a string of awards during its Off-Broadway run, and in 2014 it was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for drama. The musical made its Broadway debut in April 2015, and it went on to garner a dozen Tony Award nominations, winning for best musical, best actor, best direction, best book, and best score.

In 2012 Bechdel released Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama, a graphic novel that explored the mother-child bond through Bechdel’s relationship with her own mother, as well as the writings of Virginia Woolf and psychoanalysts Alice Miller and Donald Winnicott. Two years later Bechdel was awarded a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “genius grant.” In 2021 she published her first book in nearly 10 years, The Secret to Superhuman Strength. In the graphic memoir, Bechdel explored her interest in fitness crazes while addressing such issues as body image, interdependence, and mortality. Source: Encyclopedia Brittanica

AMY MATHENY (she/her) – is a Jeff-nominated Cicada (Route 66/Hear Tell)  and Enron (Timeline) , along with Float, Execution of Justice, The People’s Temple, and the cult hits Xena Live!  Episode 1 and Xena Live! Episode 2: The Musical at About Face Theatre. Former host of LesBiGay Radio, Windy City Times Radio and the Windy City Queercast and host of innumerable events in Chicago’s LGBTQ community over the past decades. Currently, the Senior VP of Sales at Chicago Reader.


LEXI SAUNDERS (she/they) – is a director, performer, and teaching artist originally from Los Angeles. Their Chicago directing credits include LACED and POWER IN PRIDE (About Face Theatre), ROAN @ THE GATES (American Blues), THE DEPARTURE (Haven), EURYDICE (Jedlicka), GROUNDED (Theater of Thought), FIFTY SHADES OF SHAKESPEARE ((re)discover), the upcoming regional premiere of NATURAL SHOCKS; and various storytelling events with 2nd Story. Lexi has assistant directed at Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens, Steep, Jackalope, and La Jolla Playhouse; and was honored to be selected for Victory Gardens’ inaugural Directors Inclusion Initiative and The Directors Haven. She is a member of the 2nd Story Collective and an Artistic Associate of About Face Theatre.  BA/BS Theatre & Psychology, UC San Diego.

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