As defined by Merriam-Webster, a commonplace is “a striking passage entered in a commonplace book “and “something commonly found”. While some books enhance certain commonplaces, some do the complete opposite. In “Fun Home” written by Alison Bechdel, there are many commonplaces that she breaks. The opposite commonplaces seen in the book are a solid father daughter relationship, grieving after a death of a loved one, home being a place of comfort and the love between a man and a woman. There are five songs that illustrate how the book contradicts these commonplaces. The first contrasting commonplace focuses on how fathers and daughters usually have strong, loving relationships. A song that represents this commonplace is “My Little Girl” by Tim McGraw. In the book, Alison and her father’s relationship is much different. A lyric from the song that stands out to me as a loving father daughter relationship is “Sometimes you're asleep I whisper "I Love You!" in the moonlight at your door. As I walk away, I hear you say, "Daddy Love You More!" Opposing this, in the book Alison never hears from her father that he loves her and she never tells him she loves him. The only time she showed affection to her father in the book, she ran away embarrassed. On page 19 she says, “We were not a physically expressive family, to say the least. But once I was unaccountably moved to kiss my father goodnight…all I managed was to grab his hand and buss the knuckles lightly…before rushing from the room in embarrassment (Bechdel 19). This shows how Alison wanted the affection from her father but he was not the loving type. Another song that shows the love between a father and a daughter is “Daddy” by Beyoncé. In the song she sings, “I want my unborn son to be like my daddy.
I want my husband to be like my daddy. There is no one else like my daddy. And I thank you for loving me.” Alison would not want her significant other or child to be like her father, for he had sex with teenagers and did not show love to her or her family.
The second differing commonplace in the book is people usually grieve after the death of a loved one. A song that represents this natural emotion is “Hurt”, by Cristina Aguilera. In the song she sings, “Some days I feel broke inside but I won't admit. Sometimes I just want to hide 'cause it's you I miss. You know it's so hard to say goodbye when it comes to this.” In the novel Alison’s father dies after being hit by a truck. Alison cried for two minutes, and then was over it. In the book after hearing about her father’s death she says, “As I told my girlfriend what had happened, I cried quite genuinely for about two minutes. That was all…my little brother John and I greeted each other with ghastly, incontrollable grins” (46). This is the complete opposite of how you expect someone to react. Also at her father’s funeral, Alison is forced to keep her mouth shut about how she really feels about her father and she puts on a good face.
Another commonplace that is reverse in the book is that people feel comfort and happy when at home. A song that demonstrates this is “I feel home” by O.A.R. Some lyrics in the song that show this are “There are few things pure in this world anymore and home is one of the few… there ain’t a place I’d rather go… Home to me is reality.” In the book, Alison’s home was a cold and isolated place. Her family ate together but otherwise they were all separated. In the book, on page 139, she described her family as “a mildly autistic colony” and she says “our selves were all we had” (139). She never felt like she could be herself at home and she did not feel accepted. Something her father did frequently throughout the book was force her to wear girly clothes or have girly things. In the book Alison’s father says “You need some pearls.” She says “No way!” He says “What’re you afraid of? Being beautiful? Put it on,