Greg's Reviews > Blankets

Blankets by Craig Thompson
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Jan 18, 09

bookshelves: graphic-novels
Read in January, 2009

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.
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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The Crimson Fucker Am I the only one who think is funny that you feel like a “dick” for attacking That genre…????




Shelly I liked your point about giving yourself some time after you read a book to really let it ruminate. I read this book at one sitting in a coffee shop and really fell in love with it. Later, I bought my own copy, re-read it and still liked it, but wasn't as impressed as the first time. Probably had something to do with the newness of it wearing off. In any event, I think what really struck me about it as a girl was that this guy was so open about his emotions. In my experience with dudes, especially in high school, they were all too cool to even admit they had feelings for a girl, much less talk about them. So I can see that a guy reading this would come from a different perspective. I heard that whole Christian angle theory after I'd read it, too. I didn't get it, either.


Greg Alfonso I find that funny too now that you point it out. I had no idea of the connotations I was making by saying that.


Greg I think I understand his openness with his feelings towards the girl. I liked that part, the feeling of being in a small town feeling alienated from everyone around you, finding some sort of refuge in the early 90's 'grunge' thing, and being ready to throw all of your feelings at one person if you think you can find someone that you can actually connect with.

As for the Christian thing I think the rejection of his faith is pretty clear, even if he does lie to his parents about it as not to hurt them.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

I love this review that my friend Jeremy wrote of Blankets. I've pimped that thing every time someone reviews it. I love that review!!

I see what you mean about the abuse part. A memoir is different than a fictional narrative because things happen that aren't necessarily a part of a plot. I don't think we can discount that it had an effect on him, though, and the fact that he hasn't really resolved what that means for him and his brother (and his relationship with his brother) isn't atypical.

I loved this book. I grew up Lutheran, and guilt wasn't really a part of my religious schema. I didn't "fear" God, nor did I expect much of myself. This gave me a little taste of what it felt like, which, when I read it, felt very important given that my current boyfriend had grown up fundamentalist.

I saw Craig Thompson at a Wordstock reading (he was kinda dreamy, which is irrelevant) and he seems like a pretty depressed dude. Also irrelevant?



Sarah Piggy backing off of what the previous user said, I think that the reason Thompson didn't delve more into the sexual abuse is because it hasn't really been resolved for him. Obviously, it has had a large impact on his life. I think that Thompson kind of reveals the effect it had on him in subtle ways, but we as readers want it spelled out for us more. For example, he and his brother are really close as children, but when they hit puberty and start maturing they grow distant. Is this distance from normal teenage changes or is their shared past of abuse an underlying factor in this? Does Craig pull away from his brother because he feels guilty for not protecting his brother and doesn't know how to act around him? Also, was his lack of masturbation his senior year based on religion or the effects of his past sexual abuse? I think that the sexual abuse seems a bit disjointed in the story because the author seems to feel disjointed about it. I don't know about you, but I know I have memories I am ashamed of from childhood that will occasionally pop into my head sometime even though I try to forget them. That is just my two cents on the subject.


Hester I think the author wanted to show how uncomfortable he was with his body as a result of the abuse. He returns to it in a chapter titled something like "Never grow up." Between his parents' religion and the abuse, he felt that sex was a dirty and sinful. When he was with Raina, he felt "pure" (that was the author's choice of words). I think he tried to show that, while they didn't stay together, his relationship with Raina helped him grow and heal.


zdroyd I never noticed that until now. For me I felt like Thompsons take on the abuse was very his story so him not taking it as as big of a deal was because he did not see it as that monumental. Thompson had this abuse from a babysitter and he did not have bad parents and was pretty much fortunate in that case. So him almost sweeping away the problem was because it did not make that big of an impact on his life. Where I feel if it had not been from the babysitter and he had not had above average parents and if he did not have the company of his brother in the experience maybe it would have effected him more.

I see how the abuse was pushed away as not the biggest thing but maybe that is because to Thompson it wasn't the biggest thing. Now in a book like The End Games, where the abuse is a crucial role in our characters life, then we see it have more ripples.


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