Graphic Novel Review: Blankets by Craig Thompson


Wrapped in the snowfall of a blustery Midwestern winter, Blankets is the tale of two brothers growing up in rural isolation, and of the budding romance between two young lovers. A tale of security and discovery, of playfulness and tragedy, of a fall from grace and the origins of faith, Blankets is a profound and utterly beautiful work.


Towards the end of last year and the beginning of this year, I found myself in an awful reading slump. When that happens I usually pick up a graphic novel, as the change often pulls me out of that slump.

Blankets did that, and more. I haven't felt strongly enough about a book in a while to really suffer from a book hangover, but I knew it was going to happen this time. I enjoyed this graphic novel so much that I read it at a painfully slow pace, taking in every detail in every page. 

The idea of "blanketing" runs throughout the entire novel. There's the snow-covered Wisconsin countryside that provided Craig and his brother with many happy hours of entertainment. There's the suffocating nature of high-school, feeling surrounded by people that you can't relate to. On top of that, while Craig is at school he feels constantly weighed down by the oppressive nature of his Christian teacher. He was told to stop drawing because it was a waste of his precious God-given time. There are also some pretty dark happenings in this part of the book, but I won't talk about them here was a passing mention. Other reviewers have mused that it is because Thompson hasn't really dealt with it properly -- I'd tend to agree. 

Craig can't even escape this oppression when he goes home, as his parents are also strict Christians. Momentary relief comes in the form of a girl he meets at a (Christain) camp. Her name is Raina and Craig becomes besotted with her. Blanketing himself in her love and affection. 

Raina introduces him to the concept of free-thinking, of having an opinion that doesn't always fit with the Bible. 

It was interesting to see how Craig's portrayal of Raina changes as the novel progresses. He seems to draw her differently towards the end. She becomes more and more angelic. As his feelings towards her grow, his feelings for her to replace his faith. On a couple of the pages, she's depicted in an almost Goddess-like way. 

Blankets has been well received because it so accurately portrays the angst we all go through during that period of first love, and that allows the reader to connect deeply to the characters. I really cared about what happened to Craig and I know this story will be one that stays with me for a long time.

If you're looking for an astounding graphic novel to read, you need to pick this one up. If you've never read a graphic novel before (and are not into superheroes), Blankets would be the perfect place to start. 

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