Blankets – Craig Thompson

July 25, 2009 § 2 Comments

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This book was on a list of Top Ten Graphic Novels, which I found on the website Flashlight Worthy, a place where I have found to contain very good recommendations. Having read MAUS and Persepolis, I was starting to get excited with graphic novels as a new genre for me to explore, having found them very interesting.

Blankets is an autobiographical graphic novel of Craig Thompson’s early adolescence, his childhood, his first love, and life in between. Having been brought up in a Christian family, there were a good number of pages that were dedicated to verses within the bible, and it was also a real treat for me to read and experience his thought process while trying to understand the Bible verses.

Myself not of the Christian faith, it would have been completely understandable if I were unable to relate to these strong references to Jesus and the Bible. But instead, the opposite happened. I was able to fully comprehend his doubts as he went through church, his obsession (almost) with the word of God, with sin and with heaven. The whole painful process of coming to terms with himself and finding his own standing with his faith was portrayed so well, I could feel in my own soul how torn he was.

The stories of his childhood that he shared with his younger brother were equally compelling. These stories were not the sickly sweet kind where he was the shining example of a great elder brother, but instead showed a very human (ugly though it may have been) side of sibling-ship. The awkward selfishness, the random acts of indulgence, the petty fights, they were all illustrated so well, it almost felt like I was watching an animation instead of reading in static comic strips and panels.

His first love found and lost was also a journey so heartfelt, and so real, it clenched at my own heart and I felt excited, exhilarated, sad, confused and dejected together with him. The silent panels worked all too well in bringing the unspoken feelings to the forefront, his illustrations doing just enough to pull me into the book even deeper than before.

This is a book that tells of a story so simple, it blows you away. It’s a story that perhaps all of us share, but when put together with such fine graphic skills, it draws us into a different dimension altogether.

Conclusion: TIME described the book as “achingly beautiful”. I could not agree more.

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