34 minutes | May 26, 2021

Alison Bechdel On Menopause, Mortality and Punching Pennies

Alison Bechdel went through menopause 10 years ago, when she was 50. I know this because she writes about it in her latest graphic memoir, called The Secret To Superhuman Strength. "I just felt crazy," Alison told me about that time in her life. "It was kind of like having really bad PMS for extended periods. I just know I felt nuts."

Alison's observations about her outer physical life and inner emotional life are at the center of her new book—which follows two works that are largely about her parents: her 2012 graphic novel Are You My Mother? and her acclaimed 2006 graphic novel-turned-musical Fun Home. Alison's parents and their influences on her are present in her new book, but it follows Alison's own life progression—and exercise obsessions—decade by decade. "I so much wanted to be a big strong guy," Alison told me about herself as a young girl. "I think what the real lure for me was this idea of being self-sufficient, that I wouldn't need anyone else's care or protection. I wanted to be that powerful."

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