Blankets: An Illustrated Novel
Author: Craig Thompson
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Genre: Graphic Memoir
Where I got it: Public Library
Challenges: Graphic Novels 2011
Craig Thompson's Blankets is one of quite a few graphic memoirs I've read this year. It begins with Craig's somewhat traumatic childhood, and Thompson uses the trope of blankets as a thread that transitions with him into his first love and then his adulthood. Craig shares a bed with his younger brother growing up, and that bed is a place of wonder, and imagination, and often discomfort, that appears again and again all throughout the book. When I think about it, I realize that a shared bed is certainly an apt symbol for a relationship, and it serves to show us some of the important relationships in this author's life. Beds in this book are both warm and cold, shelters and battlefields. This is a coming of age story, where Craig's first young love becomes the catalyst for his transition into adulthood. The illustrations in the book are dreamy, and the text often reads like a diary. While reading the book, sometimes it felt too personal, like I had no right as a reader to be experiencing so acutely what was portrayed on the pages.
Blankets is a sprawling project that sucks the reader into these moments that the author illustrates. It isn't my favorite graphic memoir I've read this year, but I did find it often charming, and worthwhile.