In the beginning of the book, the memoir exhibits Bruce Bechdel's obsession with restoring the family's Victorian home. His obsessive need to restore the house is connected to his emotional distance from his family, which he expressed in coldness and occasional bouts of abusive rage. This emotional distance, in turn, is connected with his closeted homosexual tendencies. Bruce Bechdel had homosexual relationships in the military and with his high school students; some of those students were also family friends and babysitters. At the age of 44, two weeks after his wife requested a divorce, he stepped into the path of an oncoming Sunbeam Bread truck and was killed. Although the evidence is equivocal, Bechdel concludes that her father committed suicide.