Blankets by Craig Thompson

The graphic novels medium lends itself so well to telling stories. To adding that extra something to add even more of an impact to an already emotionally charged story. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen that more evident than it is in Craig Thompson’s Blankets. The title of this graphic novel itself evokes feelings of warmth, security, safety…all themes that are tackled in this beautiful story of brotherhood, first love, the effects of a heavy handed religious upbringing, childhood sexual abuse, and trying to fit in in a world that sometimes doesn’t seem to have a place for you.

This is a BIG book. It clocks in at nearly 600 pages, but I’m not lying when I tell you I read it in one sitting. It’s so engaging, so beautiful, so TRUE that I couldn’t put it down. There are moments when I’d turn the page and I’d just have to stop and stare at the page because what was before me was so beautiful. Craig Thompson captures life’s moments so well. From a first kiss,  a brotherly moment, wrapping yourself up under a blanket with your first love for the first time, a first sexual encounter, long nights spent getting to know one another, awkward teenage moments, moments spent questioning one’s self. It’s all here and presented just so wonderfully.

I think I went through the whole gambit of emotions while reading this book. From being moved to tears, to ecstatic, to laughing my ass off to horrified. Basically, the novel is an autobiography of Craig’s life from his childhood years til his early twenties. But it focuses mostly on his early childhood and his relationship with his little brother whom he shared a room and a bed with while being raised by his overly religious, yet loving mother; and on his teenage years as he falls in love with Raina, the first love of his life. Both stories are beautiful in their own way.

There’s a recurring theme in the book of finding safety from pain, in finding comfort in others, in cuddling under blankets, gathering warmth from another human being…looking for warmth, looking for understanding. The art is amazing throughout the novel. Some of the panels are just so touching that they move you to tears. There are a couple of scenes with Raina and Craig out in the snow when they share their first kiss that I just thought were incredibly done! I loved them and I’d kill to have them framed. Trust me when I say this one is well worth the price and the size. It’s one you’ll go back to again and again.

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26 Responses

  1. This one looks wonderful!

    on a completely unrelated note, WHO DAT?!

  2. Melanie, WHO DAT!!!!! :p It really is wonderful!! I highly recommend it!!

  3. Read this last year, and like you, I read it all in one go. I had requested it from the library, but when I went to pick it up, I was just so shocked to see how thick it was. But once I got going, just couldn’t stop.

    The artwork is absolutely beautiful, and the story, well, one has to read it to know it.

    I like how you said you ‘went through a whole gambit of emotions’. I just went back to my own post on this book, and this is what I wrote: “I felt excited, exhilarated, sad, confused and dejected together with him.”

    Looks like this book gave both of us the same kind of unforgettable experience.

  4. Terrific review of an incredible book.

  5. It sounds gorgeous – I’ll make sure to read it!

  6. I read this one a few weeks ago and it’s still with me (even though the physical book is back at the library).

    I really wish I still had it, because I keep seeing things I missed and really want to check out…

  7. This is has been on my radar lately (due to Nymeth, I think?) and now I MUST read it! You have made it sound so wonderful and thanks for saying what you did about the length as I was concerned that it was too long for a graphic novel to engage me although what I have found from my limited reading of GNs so far is that they are immensely readable.

  8. Even before reading the book that panel made me teary-eyed. I got this for Christmas and can’t wait to read it. Just waiting for the best time for Aarti, as we’re going to read it together.

  9. Isn’t this just one of those books that you just want to hug and hug and hug?!! You did such a fabulous job with this review, Chris. After I’d read last month, I couldn’t find a way to put all the emotions into words, but you so beautifully nailed it.

    I’d gotten it from the library, but this is one of those books that I will definitely buy…it’s worth it just to gaze at the art, but it also so deserves to be reread on a regular basis.

  10. I just love the cover of this book. I really want to read it now and shall add it to my TBR. Thanks for sharing Chris.

  11. I agree, there are so many parts of this novel that I would love to have framed on my wall. So glad you finally got to read this one!!

  12. I agree, this is a genuinely beautiful graphic novel. It’s one of the first non-Neil-Gaiman graphic novels I ever read, and I was just blown away by the art and the writing. I can’t wait for whatever Craig Thompson’s going to write next!

  13. P.S. I second Melanie’s WHO DAT. The Vikings-or-Cowboys are going to give it up next Sunday like a cheerleader on prom night. Woooooo!

  14. Aw this is my favorite graphic novel ever! I am so glad that you loved it too!

  15. You captured my thoughts exactly!! one of my favorite graphic novels of all time!

  16. First Darren, then Lu, now you…that does it. I’ve ordered it from the library. I can’t afford to buy it right now, but I’ve got to READ it now. I can’t even wait until readathon. That panel you put up is so beautiful. I’m like Ana – it makes me cry and I haven’t even read the book! I definitely need this, even if only in temporary form for now.

  17. Michelle, It’s definitely one of those that once you start you just CAN’T stop!! it sucked me in at page one and just didn’t let go. I think many people have that same gambit of emotions with this one…it’s just such an amazing book. I hope many more people get to know this one!!

    Carrie, Thanks! Isn’t it amazing?

    Peta, I hope you do!! It really is gorgeous!

    Darren, Oh, I hope you do get a copy of this one that you can keep permanently. I almost got this one out from the library so many times and I’m just so glad that I actually bought it. It’s one I’ll definitely go back to over and over again.

    Claire, Oh PLEASE don’t let the size intimidate you!! I was intimidated by the size too but you totally forget about the size and just wish it was LONGER once you start reading it…seriously, I wish there were 5 more volumes of Blankets this size. It would make me infinitely happy!

    Nymeth, I can’t wait to see your reaction to this one. Warning, keep tissues handy. If that panel brought tears to your eyes, you’re in for a cry fest. I know so many of these panels brought tears to my eyes. He captures the essence of love so well.

    Debi, God, it really is one of those books that you want to just hug and hug and hug…In fact, I think I may have hugged this book a few times :p So beautiful. I wanted to wrap myself in it’s pages. I’m glad to hear that you’re going to buy this one!! It’s definitely one that one has to own!!

    Vivienne, Oh good!! It’s definitely one to own 🙂 Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it!!

    Lu, wouldn’t it be great to frame a bunch of the pages in this one and place them throughout your place? Gah, I’d love that!!

    Jenny, I’m totally with you there!! I want to read everything that Craig Thompson has done now…I just wish there was tons! I can’t wait to see what he does next either. This was such an amazing book. And I love your Saints comment :p

    Christina, I can definitely see why!! Isn’t it amazing.

    Staci, I have a feeling it’s a lot of people’s favorite graphic novel. I didn’t realize the power that this one had until I read it. Just amazing!

    Amanada, Yeah, good decision there!! It’s SUCH an amazing book Amanda. You’re really going to love it, I think. Like I told Ana, have the tissues nearby. There are quite a few panels that will pull the tears from your eyes. It’s such a moving story in so many ways. And it’s definitely one to own in the long run.

  18. I haven’t read many graphic novels, but this looks amazing! I’ve put this on my list!

  19. Gosh, Ana and I MUST read this next weekend! It has gotten such fabulous reviews and I just need to settle down and give myself a good bawl with it, clearly! At least Ana will be there to cry with me 🙂

  20. Thompson’s artwork is amazing. I’ve been a fan since the first time I saw it, way before I ever actually read anything of his. I think the cover of Blankets, without the words on it, would be an amazing print to have framed. It is just beautiful.

  21. I am looking forward to reading this! I am just waiting for it to come in for me at the library.

  22. Okay, I’ve GOT to read this this year!

  23. […] reviews: Things mean a lot ; Zen Leaf ; Bart’s Bookshelf ; Stuff as dreams are made on ; One literature nut ; previous post: Fish hat! a ewe from the storm […]

  24. […] Mumsy at Jenny’s Books, Nymeth’s things mean a lot, Chris @ Stuff As Dreams Are Made On, Bart’s Bookshelf, Lu at Regular Ruminations, Melody’s Reading Corner, The Zen Leaf, […]

  25. grando adelhamos de renco y adoto con riassam puconamo. despro a bedoges y requal tadario con coria mevermo!

  26. Bonjour les amis quel est votre point de vue de mon nouveau site sur l’immobilier?

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