“Blankets” by Craig Thompson

In preparation for next week’s meeting of Books and Bars (which I just found out clashes with a Club Book reading by Colson Whitehead at the Roseville library; doh!), I pulled Craig Thompson’s Blankets off the shelf to re-read.

The first time I read it, I was moved by this comic-book memoir of a young boy’s boyhood, first love, and struggle with faith. I’d heard the rumblings over the years since it had been published that decried it as the romantic hand wringing of a sappy emo boy. This made me very aware of this aspect of the book, and made me like the book a little less, since it’s the bulk of this very bulky book.

I’m still moved by his depiction of boyhood with his younger brother, and with his creative ways of showing his struggles with the fundamentalist Christian upbringing he had in rural Wisconsin. But there’s very little humor here to leaven the material, and the book drags sometimes because of this. His visual storytelling is impressive, and the art work is beautiful.

It’s interesting to compare with another comic book I just read, Unwritten: Inside Man, which is more an illustrated story, IMO, than a graphic work, where the art and text combine to tell the story. I still recommend Blankets, though not if you’re feeling particularly jaded or cynical.

2 Responses to ““Blankets” by Craig Thompson”

  1. Audrey C Says:

    Ms. Detective-
    I saw you at Book and Bars last night. You really hit the nail on the head with bringing up the book’s complete lack of humor. I can’t relate to this melodramatic view of adolescence. And I usually can’t really get engaged into such a flat story unless there is a wit or playfulness to it.

  2. girldetective Says:

    Audrey, thanks for looking me up! I have a theory after last night’s discussion. Those who were in love in high school and can empathize didn’t seem to mind the boring teen romance as much. Those of us who didn’t can’t stomach the sappiness. Or, we’re probably just bitter about being lonely in high school. I think everyone agreed the art was skillful, and that some of the brother or religion threads were good. He did an illustrated journal of a trip he took to Marrakesh, and I liked that holistically better, since it wasn’t so earnest.