Thursday, 26 September 2013

Blankets by Craig Thompson


I've been getting into graphic novels recently, and Blankets is one that has come highly recommended to me from a variety of different sources.  I was actually very keen to read Thompson's other graphic novel, Habibi, but Blankets was the one my library stocked, so I decided to try it first.  It's an autobiography of two different parts of Thompson's life; falling in love for the first time and his relationship with his brother.  Told in non-chronological order and jumping between the two narratives, Blankets is a coming of age tale about what it is to be human and the relationships we have with each other.

I reserved Blankets at the library without ever seeing it so was shocked at how chunky it was when my hold finally came in!  At 580+ pages, it's definitely the longest graphic novel I have ever read.  This chunkiness, the sheer length of it, meant that as a reader you get to fully know the characters in a way that I would normally associate with a straight-forward novel.  It was an immersive experience and this made it emotionally engaging.  I really felt for Craig, and the confessional style of the narrative made it easy to connect with him.  Having been bought up by strictly religious parents, Craig magnifies all of his flaws/ 'sins' and this makes him relatable.  It felt like reading a diary, as Thompson wasn't interested in covering anything up in order to appear better than he was.

The parts of the book that dealt with Craig falling in love with Raina were just beautiful.  It's been a while since I fell in love for the first time (it's our ten year anniversary today!), but reading Blankets bought it all back, the intensity and how important everything feels.  Thompson manages to make these scenes sweet  without being sappy and I loved them.  Similarly, the relationship between Craig and his younger brother felt very real, too.

In fact, there wasn't much I didn't love about this novel.  I thought the latter parts were a bit rushed, almost as if Thompson was worried that the book was already long enough, but apart from that I have no complaints at all.  It's a fantastic coming of age story, I loved the style of the illustrations and the story is full of emotion.  I can't wait to pick up Habibi.


Source: Library
First Published: 2003
Edition Read: Top Shelf Productions, 2006
Score: 4 out of 5

Read Alongside:
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell - Another beautiful examination of first love that feels extremely real.

15 comments:

  1. I'm so glad to see so many people reading and reviewing this lately! It makes me want to pick up and re-read my copy :)

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  2. I love this book. It remains one of my absolute favorite comics. I should warn you, Habibi is one of those books that piles on A LOT of misery, and I eventually couldn't keep reading it. A bunch of people loved it, and the art is just stunning, but definitely don't go into it (as I did) expecting it to be like Blankets.

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    1. I don't mind a lot of misery, the more the better as far as I'm concerned. I will keep in mind that Habibi isn't like Blankets when my library finally purchases a copy so I can read it.

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  3. Blankets is so so good. I almost read the whole thing in one sitting. I think it was the first graphic novel I read (I don't generally gravitate toward them).

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    1. If I hadn't been working, I think I would have read the whole thing in one sitting.

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  4. Oooh, I'm always looking for good graphic novels and am never sure how to go about identifying them because not a lot of people talk about them. I'm adding this to my Goodreads list immediately!

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    1. I've been reading a lot of graphic novels lately, I'm just in the mood for them recently. I'm half way through the first Sandman at the moment, it's awesome so far.

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  5. Yay, so glad you enjoyed this! Definitely one of the best graphic novels I've read. SUCH beautiful illustration too.

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    1. Yes, the artwork was stunning, I wish I had a talent like that!

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  6. Ohhh Blankets! Such a great book! I'm very much looking forward to Habibi as well :D I might order it to read during the upcoming Readathon.

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  7. Oh I loved this one. One of my favorite graphic books right up there with Maus and Persepolis. It amazed me how well the pictures "spoke".

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  8. First of all, congrats on those amazing 10 years!

    Secondly, I had never heard of this graphic novel, but sounds great. I can't recommend you enough my favourite one: Tamara Drewe. A re-telling of Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy. There is also a movie directed by Stephen Frears and it's really good too.

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  9. I've heard such good things about this one! Really want to read it.

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