I like this book very much - it should get four to four and a half stars - but I hate hate hate HATE that the town the main characters live in is callI like this book very much - it should get four to four and a half stars - but I hate hate hate HATE that the town the main characters live in is called Lovecraft. It's so distractingly obvious and stupid that I'm hoping the book reboots in the second volume....more
Being able to relate to something is the most boring reason to like it, but it's just as true and honest as any other, and this reminded me of my ownBeing able to relate to something is the most boring reason to like it, but it's just as true and honest as any other, and this reminded me of my own childhood so intensely that I fell in love with it within the first three pages and loved it until the last one. It is not a great book. It is not terrifically well-written. I don't care, though, because it's like someone transcribed a few moments that I thought I was the only observer of. Of course, there are millions out there who agree with me.
Craig Thompson was born in the same town in Michigan as I was, probably the same hospital (because there's really just the one in Traverse City, Michigan). I took part in the same religious hysteria as both an active participant and later as a tortured doubter. Thompson gets the brutal winters that roll in off the Great Lakes and the muffled silence - most of the story takes place in winter. The art here is interesting in that it's a bit Art Spiegelman-like, except more fantastical - he's not an allegorist, but he's also unafraid of deforming reality a bit in a way that reflects memory's vagaries - and he does that a lot more than Spiegelman.
My own health is not excellent, it's a funny thing to admit at 32 but it's nonetheless true, and although it's similarly mawkish to admit it, I spend more time thinking about my childhood now than I used to. You get to a point where you realize that these things matter only to yourself, that you were always effectively the only participant, and once I arrived at that realization, remembering became more precious somehow. I had my own Raina - a girl who I went to great lengths to visit in the faraway city in which she lived, whose irksomely brilliant whitebread family were unfailingly kind to me despite the pretentious, presumptuous, irritating wannabe Camusian permafunk in which I spent my teens. We talked on the phone all the time. We even had phone sex once. I told her the accent in "Aquinas" was on the final syllable and she patiently told me I was wrong but stopped bothering when I insisted. I made her read John Berryman and she said she didn't get it so of course I pretended to grasp every reference. She dumped me over the phone, too, after a relationship that lasted about nine months, and I never really found out why, though when you're 18 it's really a question that answers itself. We tried to rekindle it once but I was so angry three years later that I would only tease her. We're Facebook friends now, kind of the ultimate in perverse insults, though she seems happy, which makes me glad. When I was cleaning toilets on a golf course in Indiana to fund trips to see her I would've said the same thing, that I just wanted her happiness - and it's only now when that whole time is so far away that I can actually muster the generosity of spirit to be glad about it again. That kind of generosity maybe has more to do with forgetting the slight than it does with any actual comfort or joy.
Anyway, Thompson remembers very clearly what it was like to see a whole hopeful world in someone you're with. It's a lesson that gets beaten out of most people, and that's what Blankets is about. There's not much story to it - boy meets girl, boy loses girl, with a little bit of fraternal alienation and Dostoevskian questioning and high school cliquishness mixed in. It's not a masterpiece. But you would still have to pry this book from my possession with a heavy fucking crowbar....more