Friday, May 17, 2013

Review Me Twice: Blankets by Craig Thompson

As we told you on MondayBlankets is an autobiographical graphic novel by Craig Thompson, written between 1999 and 2003. He published it as a way to tell his family that he was no longer a fundamentalist Christian like them.

That story also contains a love story (as is evident from the cover art). I like the combination of the two. It's a sort of coming-of-age story, sort of love story, sort of shift-in-faith story. It's a great combination, and Thompson gives appropriate weight to each part.

It's a linear story, from Thompson's childhood to adulthood, incorporating flashbacks that inform the story at various stages, and make links between events of his life. I thought these were done very well, because they epitomize the phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words"; one small drawing in the middle of a page about a significant event can explain a complex feeling it brought about, by reminding you of a previous event in the story line.

The illustrations are beautiful, especially the ones dealing with his fears and concerns (particularly about going to hell for being selfish - see the example I used for grayscale yesterday) and anywhere he's talking about how beautiful Raina is.

I... am just not that much of a graphic novel fan.  And the more that I read them, the more I realize that.  I like them well enough, but for the most part, I'd rather just read a novel.

I liked Blankets well enough. I liked that he had such an inner struggle with his religion.  Religion is hard and, as often happens when it's shoved down your throat in childhood, you either completely embrace it or you reject it.  Thompson was more of the latter but he didn't completely reject religion.  He still believed in God and spirituality, he just took a more relaxed approach to it.  A more compassionate approach you could say.

I liked his relationship with his brother more than anything in this book.  I love reading about sibling relationships and he and his brother... it was heartwarming.  And even though they grew apart during their teens, they were still brothers in the end.  Which, I loved.

I didn't really care that much about him and Raina.  Raina REALLY annoyed me.  Sometimes I just kind of wanted to tell her to suck it up and deal with life.  And what annoyed me more was that her excuse for ending it with Craig were kind of dumb.  "I'm going through a hard time so clearly I should be alienating the people that care for me the most."  I don't know; I just wasn't a fan.

The book just kind of made me feel "meh."  I didn't think it was great, but nor did I think that it was terrible.  Just not my kind of book, I guess.  Like I said, I think it's the graphic novel.  It's harder for me to lose myself in a GN because it takes so much WORK.  I guess, my thing is reading isn't supposed to be work and it kind of feels that when I read a Graphic Novel.

My Bottom Line 3 out of 5

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