Jason Lundberg's Reviews > Blankets

Blankets by Craig Thompson
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Feb 07, 09

bookshelves: graphic-literature, 0wnz0red, reviewed
Read in December, 2006

Told as a memoir -- like Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, and Art Spiegelman's Maus -- the coming-of-age story mainly concerns a high school love affair with a girl named Raina. The two meet for the first time at bible camp, both drawn to each other because of their outcast status; they don't fit in with the more well-to-do kids, who use the camp as an excuse to ski or snowboard, and so they end up away from the crowds, attempting to find refuge in a world that feels uncomfortable. Once the camp is over, Thompson returns to Wisconsin and Raina to Michigan, and they exchange letters, tapes and drawings with each other. They talk on the phone for hours, like teenagers do, and soon come up with a plan for Thompson to visit Raina for two weeks; the biggest chunk of the book takes place within that time of idyllic adolescent love.

The book also flashes back to Thompson's childhood spent in a small Wisconsin town in an almost oppressively religious household. He doesn't eat meat, wears his hair long, and has artistic leanings, which means he is the object of ridicule and scorn from his schoolmates. The opening scene of the book reveals his relationship to his younger brother Phil, and it is this that he returns to over and over again, both the good and bad things about sharing such a small space with a sibling.

But it is the two weeks with Raina that are the main focus, and which I as the reader was most eager to return to. That feeling of blossoming love, of having someone in your life that gets you for the first time, of realizing that the world is much bigger than a small Wisconsin town, it makes for compelling reading, and is told with simplicity and subtlety in Thompson's words and illustrations. It is a beautiful story, told beautifully, and is highly recommended for fans of graphic literature.
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