A few years ago when part of this book was in the McSweeney's Graphic Novel issue I really liked it. I remember it being on of the stories that made me want to go out and by the book. I didn't go out and buy it though because it was just too damn expensive for me, sure the book looked nice but spending thirty bucks on a graphic novel that I'd read in an hour or so didn't seem worth it.
Now I have finally read it. If I had rated Blankets as soon as I finished it I would have given it four stars. Instead I went for a walk to go buy coffee, and thought about it on my short walk and realized that there are some big problems with the book. Coming home I decided to read other reviews of the book before writing this, something I don't usually do, but felt I'd see if other people had some of the problems I had. Some did, and some had some really weird problems with the book, like the guy who gave it one star because it believed it was a fundamentalist Christian comic book in disguise. I have a feeling this person didn't make it to the end of the book, or else is seeing something I didn't see in the book.
The book captures the confusion of being a teenager who is out of place with his surroundings. The main part of the story revolving around his short lived long distance relationship with a girl he meets at Church Camp is sort of on the heartbreaking side, and pushes all of the melancholy romantic buttons for me, maybe even a little unfairly. On my walk I couldn't help thinking that I have to stop identifying with my own doomed relationships of my younger days, and not just give it stars because it allows me to wallow in past where everything good always seemed to exist too far outside of the immediate surroundings to be feasible. Maybe if the book just stuck to doomed young love I'd be giving this a higher rating.
My big problem with the book is the sexual abuse part, which sort of comes out of left field, is used as a juxtaposition between the way the main character and the love interest show responsibility towards their siblings, but is then sort of just left sitting there. Maybe if it had only been alluded to I would be able to let it be passed off, but Thompson returns to it, gives no inkling of any kind of effects the abuse had but instead it just kind of hangs over the rest of the story doing nothing after it's second appearance. Now, if it had been a book dwelling on sexual abuse I probably would have disliked it, a part of me is tired of the survivor genre of memoirs, but I just don't understand why it is there in the story (except of course that it happened, which is ok, but lots of things I'm sure happened that aren't in the story, and I'm sure lots of things happened that have turned Thompson into the person he is today that aren't in the story). Now I'm feeling a little like a dick for attacking this point, I just think it should have been integrated into the story a little better.
I liked this book but more on my immediate feelings for it then when I think about it. I probably have more to say about it, but I'm feeling tired of working on this review. So this is all there is.