are you my mother?

are you my mother?//wanderaven

Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel

One of the benefits of waiting so long to read a well-known memoir is that immediately after doing so, you can start the next memoir by the author. This is also, possibly, one of the drawbacks.

Had there been years separating my reading of these two memoirs (as there was in the publication), I may not have felt more critical of this one than I was of Fun Home.

This memoir feels very meta. It's mostly about Bechdel's process of writing a book (this one) about her relationship with her mother, and about her process of discussing writing the book (Fun Home) about her father with her mother, and whether her mother is really her soul mother, than it is about her mother herself. I might have not cared so much about this other than that Fun Home is primarily about Bechdel's deeply fraught relationship with her father, but it's also about his life and speculation about his behavior and choices. There's more of a remove here, from Bechdel and her mother and her mother's story, but that's also probably at least one of the points of the memoir.

One can see the evolution of Bechdel's art from Fun Home to Are You, particularly in her representation of her physical self in this memoir. Her obsession with her mental states and thus also her psychotherapists can be exhausting and even grating but then again it is a memoir, and that's the primary element of memoirs: to share one's thoughts and process of learning about themselves.