This was one of the books I put on my list for reading during the Tome Topple Readathon and also only my second venture into graphic novels. Needless to say, I am no expert in the graphic novel field, but I’d still like to tell you what I thought about it. So let’s do just that.
Spoiler Free Review
Title: Blankets – Graphic Novel
Author: Craig Thompson
Published: Top Shelf Productions, 2003
(from GR) Wrapped in the landscape of a blustery Wisconsin winter, Blankets explores the sibling rivalry of two brothers growing up in the isolated country, and the budding romance of two coming-of-age lovers. A tale of security and discovery, of playfulness and tragedy, of a fall from grace and the origins of faith.
I can’t remember exactly what I first heard or saw this graphic novel. When I first really considered picking up a copy at the beginning of this month, I knew I’d seen and heard about it before. I felt like I’d seen the cover numerous times, but I’d never truly had the desire to read it. The fact that it was over 500 pages was a great incentive because of the readathon. But what I ended up getting was so much more than that.
This graphic novel is based around aspects of the author’s real life experiences – feelings of first love, grappling with the realities of his faith, trying to understand his relationships – familial and otherwise. It really was a portrait of someone growing up, finding out where they fit into their life, and what that want their life to be. We follow Craig has be tries to understand these ideas. I initially wondered how well I would be able to connect to the character considering this genre doesn’t really support long passages of character development. I feel like the artwork filled that void, and by the middle of the novel I was completely immersed in Craig’s story and felt I knew the character well. It made me root for his character, feel pangs of hurt and regret at times when he felt those things too. I think being able to visually see the character and see his struggles gave me a much closer connection – at least from the outset, where sometimes in books of normal format, it can take a while to warm to the character.
This book deals with so many powerful themes. A great range of themes that almost everyone can empathise with, and some that – thankfully – not everyone has to go through. It is not for the fainthearted – and please take that as a warning. I could clearly see his experiences and the way they affected the rest of his life – his ideas of himself, of others, of how people should live their life in terms of faith. It grapples with really big ideas, but the format of this book lays them out in ways that are easy to see, and therefore a little clearer to understand. I felt like I was inside Craig’s head throughout this book, watching connections being made, which was really fascinating.
And to finish, we can’t forget about the beautiful artwork in this novel. I really enjoyed the style of drawing and loved the fact that there were themes of artwork that went throughout the novel. His style changed to suit the current mood of the story, and produced more powerful images as powerful scenes were happening. It was a joy to consume.
I personally felt that the ending was a little rushed, and skipped over some parts of story that I would have liked to see more of. However, after I finished the book I reminded myself that one, it is autobiographical, and he can tell us as much as he likes and two; it showed how fleeting some things can be in adolescence and how quickly things can change in matters of the heart. So, even though I felt pushed towards the end of the novel, I could understand his choices.
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars!
I really enjoyed this graphic novel and found it to be much more impactful than originally expected. It made me think about my own faith and my own experiences. I also felt like, since this was only my second graphic novel, it was really easy to access and I could slide into the format easily. I’d recommend it to everyone, but especially to those who think they might find the graphic novel format difficult to digest.
Until next time! Cheery-bye!