Julie's Reviews > Blankets

Blankets by Craig Thompson
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Jan 10, 10

bookshelves: 2010, biography-or-memoir, manga-and-graphic-novels
Recommended to Julie by: Jesse, Jason
Recommended for: Danielle, Jesse, Kim
Read from January 07 to 08, 2010, read count: 1

** spoiler alert ** Okay. I've heard nothing but rave reviews about this graphic novel for a few years now, and recently received it for Christmas. While I wasn't sure it was going to be my type of thing, I was more than willing to give it a try.

Craig Thompson's artwork is compelling. The 600 pages of this graphic novel flowed along so smoothly that I read it almost in one sitting. The story, too, drew me in right from the beginning. The scenes involving Craig and Phil's childhood are endearing and frightening by turns. Unfortunately, despite the pages still flying by, the story took a downhill turn for me in the last half. I'm not one for navel-gazing (or reading about it), and I thought it was very sad watching the disintegration of both Raina's parents' marriage, and Craig and Raina's relationship. I'm a happy ending girl. It's not that I can't handle a sad ending, but I prefer them happy unless I can really GET why the author chooses a different ending. Somehow, I wasn't emotionally invested enough in the characters to actually have the story upset me. (And I cried at the opening credits of the first Narnia movie.) Raina really got on my nerves, with her "I need x from you but as soon as you want any commitment from me I can't handle it" attitude. I felt sorry for Craig, but he was a little too maudlin about everything for me to feel THAT bad for him.

All I can say, in summary, is that it was kind of like watching a train wreck, without being all that horrified watching it happen. I'd happily recommend the book to others, and have lots of respect for Craig Thompson's bravery for putting this story out there, and for his artistic talent... it just wasn't really for me.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Jason Only two stars? Wow. While I can't necessarily disagree with your story related points, I'd say that "Blankets" is far more than just its plot. As an artistic and personal achievement, it's staggering: at the time, it was the biggest original graphic novel ever published (it may still be!), and the then no-name Thompson labored on it for years as basically a starving artist with a story he HAD to tell. I think that level of passion is visible on every page of that book.

Also, it's a very artistically bold book. Thompson has such a lush, perfectly executed brush stroke that it's easy to completely lose yourself in the art, even when the story takes bad turns.

It's such a personal story, and you can feel Thompson's emotions laid bare on every page. I think it helps immensely that it's not *just* a "relationship comic"...it's about Craig's relationship with Raina, yes, but also his relationship with parents, and his relationship with God. It really is bold stuff. Also, I was blown away by just how perfectly he captured both the thrill of falling in love and the agony of it all falling apart. It's something a lot of people stumble with, but I thought Thompson nailed it.

Anyway, interesting take...here's a few links on the book you might find interesting...

What my soon-to-be wife thought of the book: http://www.playbackstl.com/content/vi...

Two top comics critics, Tom Spurgeon and Sean T. Collins, discuss the book: http://www.comicsreporter.com/index.p...


Julie First off, congrats on the soon-to-be-wife part! :D

Second off (?) this kind of cracks me up. I knew you would probably comment on this. When I opened this present my friend asked if I'd read it, or heard of it, and I told him the story about how "my pen pal from 1997 started dating a girl, and the first comic/graphic novel she picked out to read was Blankets." My friend told me that I would probably like it, but that I'd probably cry in a couple of places. (Ahem, I cry at just about anything that can get me emotionally involved.) I guess that's what was missing from this for me. While I enjoyed parts of it and could appreciate what Thompson was doing, I did not get emotionally invested in the characters and that took a lot of the power out of the story for me. I LIKED Craig, and I could appreciate that I was watching his journey of self-discovery regarding love and his faith, but I wasn't so emotionally fixated that it really upset me when his relationship, or his faith, fell apart. I didn't really care for Raina from the beginning, and in fact the characters I cared about the most were Phil, and Raina's parents. The childhood scenes were fantastic - both sweet and typically combative, and he conveyed even the disturbing parts extremely well.

The two-star rating isn't a comment on his artistic skill, at all. I really liked the artwork. It was well-crafted, consistent, and certainly did not need color to make it any more effective. I think those two stars are really more for the artwork than anything else. I don't think the length of it should be too much of a factor. Yes, it represents a Herculean effort, but if it didn't grab me emotionally, it kind of doesn't matter if it was 200 or 582 pages.

I will re-read this at some point, and maybe I will appreciate it more a second time around, but just keep in mind that I'm not trying to lambaste the book or what Craig Thompson has done. I am only reviewing my own reaction to the book, while fully understanding how others' will be completely different.


Julie P.S. I did go read both of the articles you linked. I especially enjoyed reading about Craig's influences for the story and the fact that he mailed it to his parents as a first declaration that he'd left the faith... ouch. That had to be really difficult for him, especially since there were a lot of hard things in there his parents may not have known about.


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