Graphic novel: Blankets

What exactly do I say about a book that has won almost all relevant awards under the sun? 

Blankets took the literary world by storm when it was published. The author’s autobiographical account of being a young boy and young man in rural Wisconsin touches on themes of child abuse, religious upbringing and isolated communities. The innocence of first love forms the crux of the story.

The illustrations convey a lot more than the captions themselves. The story is deeply personal and at times I felt like an intruder reading someone’s diary. The joy of first love, the devastation of first heart break. These are captured and relayed beautifully. The fear and trepidation are captured through some really clever use of metaphors and experiences. 

Craig’s relationship with religion and to a lesser extent his brother, are probably the areas that I found most difficult to read. Religion because I struggle to understand the all consuming nature of it. I felt stifled which, I suppose, is what some of those pages are trying to to point out – the consuming nature of growing up surrounded by religion, all decisions and relationships stemming from that one belief. 

I really wanted to know more about the relationship between Craig and his brother. It was a sweet reference point that featured in every part but was never really the focus. Perhaps again this is intentional and too personal to share with the world, but I was left wanting there. 

Read it for the very personal journey of a young boy growing up and out of an isolated world.

Four stars*

Written and illustrated by Craig Thompson, I’m looking forward to reading his Habibi in the future


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