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Blankets by Craig Thompson

August 14, 2012

Blankets (the first graphic novel I have read) is many things wrapped into a coming-of-age autobiography. Thompson tells the story of his first love, but also of his spiritual journey and his family history.  It is lovely, and sad, and hopeful.

The artwork in Blankets is also graceful, incorporating gentle lines and swirls into all the parts of the story (like the cover image, pictured above). This is a book that is not so much about the story itself, which is not revolutionary or memorable in and of itself, but about how that story is told.

I mentioned the artwork above, but Thompson’s stark honesty in telling the story makes it incredibly compelling. He is completely honest about times that he did things that were wrong, or even cruel, and that honesty endears him even more to the reader. This is a kid who made mistakes, mostly small ones, and grew up to have the heart to relate those mistakes without excusing himself or downplaying it.

Thompson also creates compelling characters – although he is working from real people, he manages to bring out details and traits that make them seem incredibly real. Blankets is a tender and loving remembrance of childhood and growing up.


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