Somewhat accidentally, I found myself reading Alison Bechdel's Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic.
Let me see if I can set the stage for you a little bit.
It's a graphic novel.
Called Fun Home.
Nope, you're wrong: whatever you're thinking, you're wrong.
The Fun Home of the title was the funeral home where Bechdel's father worked, and her story is anything but a gentle reminiscence of her peaceful childhood days.
Bechdel more-or-less takes three swings at describing her childhood: once as she saw it as a child, growing up; once as she revisited it once she was an adult and had moved away; and once with the benefit of time and reflection. All three viewpoints are intertwined and interleaved: she dances around, describing the same events and observations from different angles and distances.
The book is beautifully written and drawn, and the story is fascinating. Bechdel is a lively and literate author, and I found her literary allusions, her cultural observations, and her autobiographic reflections to be compelling, even riveting.
But the tale she tells is raw and heartbreaking, it is indeed a tragic story from a tragic time.
I'm glad I read it, although I guess I should be a little bit more careful what books I "stumble into," because here, to strain the old proverb, you certainly can't tell a book from its cover.