AUTHOR: Craig Thompson
ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: In this semi-autobiographical graphic novel, teenage Craig struggles to reconcile what his faith tells him and the passions in his life.
Going into Blankets I had no idea what the story was about. From the cover I thought it would be a contemporary romance, but it’s so much more than just about first love. It deals with being bullying, faith, family, and the trials of growing up. I thought it was a beautiful coming of age story, and one that isn’t talked about enough.
Craig comes from a very conservative, very religious family. He reads his bible every night, he goes to church every Sunday, and in winter break he goes to Church Camp. I’ll be the first to admit that a) I’m not religious or go to church and b) this story caught me by surprise. One of the things that I like about this story is that it’s not in your face about god or faith, it’s never preachy or corny (which is the problem I have with a lot of Christian based films / stories). It’s a story about a deeply religious individual having to reconcile what he’s been taught and his own differing feelings about it. However, he doesn’t outright question it, but it’s obvious some of it is unsettling for him; his reactions are subtle but it’s there.
In the end he comes to the conclusion that religion: “denies the beauty of being HUMAN, and it ignores all these GAPS that need to be filled in by the individual.” I don’t see this as an attack on Christianity much less faith, but this happens to show the problems that I also have with religion.
Now that I got the heavy stuff out of the way, let’s talk about the writing (or lack of?). The best part of Thompson’s novel is that it’s not wordy. In this comic, the author really tells the story through his drawings, a refreshing aspect. Thompson doesn’t need words to show what the characters are feeling, and that itself is beautiful to see on paper. It might be 582 pages, but I swear you can read this in one sitting. (Unlike Watchmen which took me 3 days!) The drawings are simple when they need to be, complex when they need to be, and feel very personal throughout.
The story is an honest portrayal of Thompson’s life, and I really loved that. It talks about bullying, faith, family life, and first loves. It will gives you all the feels: happiness, love, heartbreak, sadness, and even anger. All of which will make you wish you had a blanket of your own to cuddle with Blankets. I think this might be my favorite graphic novel up to now, if not it’s definitely in my top two (Saga is the other one).
Just go read it! You won’t regret it.