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Blankets by Craig Thompson
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Blankets (2003)

by Craig Thompson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,4652101,738 (4.1)268
Loosely based on the author's life, chronicling his journey from childhood to adulthood, exploring the people, experiences, and beliefs that he encountered along the way.
Recently added bynancyjean19, zzzaki, rena40, yulischeidt, elam11, chicoryblue, private library
  1. 100
    The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (Hibou8)
    Hibou8: Two very good graphic novels that deal with coming of age.
  2. 100
    Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel (McMinty, 2810michael)
  3. 30
    Stitches: A Memoir by David Small (teelgee)
  4. 10
    Days of the Bagnold Summer by Joff Winterhart (kinsey_m)
  5. 10
    American Jesus - Book One: Chosen by Mark Millar (Percevan)
    Percevan: Both comic books are about coming of age and a boy's relationship to Christianity. They are both thought-provoking, but in different ways.
  6. 00
    Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi (Hibou8)
  7. 00
    Ghost World by Daniel Clowes (hazzabamboo)
  8. 00
    Born Again by Kelly Kerney (Percevan)
    Percevan: Both books deal with coming of age of after rigid fundamentalist christian upbringing, but in different formats: a girl's thought provoking fictional story in a novel (Born again) and a beautiful graphic novel with the autobiographical story of a boy (Blankets).… (more)
  9. 11
    Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli (Percevan)
  10. 00
    Underdogs by Markus Zusak (MarcusH)
    MarcusH: While The Underdogs is not a graphic novel, Markus Zusak does create a series of somewhat autobiographical coming of age tales similar to the story told in Blankets. Zusak's prose is poetic and creates images through words as Thompson creates actual images.
  11. 00
    Moonshadow by J. M. DeMatteis (apokoliptian)
  12. 01
    Black Hole by Charles Burns (2810michael)
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» See also 268 mentions

English (192)  French (4)  Dutch (3)  Danish (3)  Catalan (2)  Spanish (2)  Italian (1)  German (1)  All languages (208)
Showing 1-5 of 192 (next | show all)
Well drawn, an ok story ( )
  reg_lt | Feb 7, 2020 |
Beautiful, but left me feeling unfulfilled. ( )
  barajash29 | Jan 22, 2020 |
This is about the size of a young telephone directory, but, rather disconcertingly, it only took me an afternoon to work through it. I feel rather sorry for all the trees that got ground up to make that 1.5 kg pile of paper...

In the space of about 600 pages, Thompson tells us about his childhood and adolescence in an Evangelical family in a small town in a snowy part of the American Midwest, about sharing a room with his little brother, being bullied at school, falling in love, being discouraged from pursuing his passion for drawing, and struggling with magnificent religious Doubts of the George Eliot variety (believing or not-believing eventually turns out to revolve around a fine distinction of Hebrew conjunctions, if I understood it right).

The pictures are lovely, funny and clever, and Thompson uses them in non-obvious, non-linear ways to tell his story, but after a while I found it all a little bit too cloyingly whimsical and sentimental in that very American-coming-of-age way, where you can be nostalgic for family cosiness and small-towns and snowy days and the music of twenty years ago at the same time as complaining about how it was all oppressing you and preventing you from expressing your true self.

Autobiographical stories also often have the problem that things that would be important threads in a constructed work of fiction don't resolve themselves, simply because they pass outside the narrator's knowledge at a certain point. That happens in life, we do lose track of people who have been important to us, but in a book like this it's very disconcerting when a whole large area of the plot is just closed off with one phone-call (even if that does get justified later on with a bit of footprints-in-the-snow imagery). And especially when the characters in that area of the plot were so much more interesting than the ones in the narrator's own family...

It seems to be difficult for any kind of modern coming-of-age story to present loss of religious faith as anything more complicated than a disagreement about rules of (sexual-) behaviour with dim and narrow-minded parents and pastors. Thompson tries, and he shows his narrator having a real struggle letting go of the Sunday-school/New Testament image of Christ he's grown up with, but in the end it once again seems to come down to the people around him being too narrow-minded to leave him with any alternative to a complete rejection of them. Surely there must be more to it than that?

I'm obviously not the target audience for this sort of book: I grew up in a quite different time and place and with a different set of adolescent problems to worry about. It didn't really work for me, but there's no obvious reason why it should have, and it obviously has been a very relevant and helpful book for a lot of other people in different situations. ( )
  thorold | Nov 14, 2019 |
Raw, emotional, exposed....
The thing about graphic novels is the imagery fills in the gaps that exist in the plot. The images give life and breath and more importantly space to the context that cannot be expressed with words.
Thompson does such a fantastic job of combining the images and the words in Blankets was a relatable book for me, given that I have had many of the same experiences. Realistic characters for me would be an understatement, these boys could have been my brothers with so many similarities in our formative years, except geography.

Quotes:
p.340 "Even a mistake is better than nothing."
p. 164 Not really a quote but the reflective images of the characters after their phone call, left alone in their realities.
p. 533 "I still believe in God, the teachings of Jesus even, but the rest of Christianity ... it's Bible, it's churches, it's dogma -- only sets up boundaries between people and cultures. It denies the beauty of being HUMAN, and it ignores all these gaps that need to be filled in by the individual." ( )
  untitled841 | Jul 24, 2019 |
A brick of a graphic novel, I read it while having lunch on the back deck. It's charmingly illustrated and a low key painful childhood and first love story. (October 08, 2005) ( )
  cindywho | May 27, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 192 (next | show all)
Blankets is an attempt to rejuvenate such well-trod themes as social isolation, religious guilt, and first love; the vitality of which has become too frequently obscured by countless hackneyed dramas and endless clichés. Toward the very end of this “illustrated novel,” Craig notes, while walking in snow, how “satisfying it is to leave a mark on a blank surface.” In Blankets, Thompson does just this: through daring leaps of visual storytelling, he makes wonderfully fresh marks upon a surface long worn blank.
 
In telling his story, which includes beautifully rendered memories of the small brutalities that parents inflict upon their children and siblings upon each other, Thompson describes the ecstasy and ache of obsession (with a lover, with God) and is unafraid to suggest the ways that obsession can consume itself and evaporate.
added by stephmo | editNew York Times, Ken Tucker (Sep 13, 2003)
 
...credit writer-artist Craig Thompson, 27, for infusing his bittersweet tale of childhood psyche bruising, junior Christian angst, and adolescent first love with a lyricism so engaging, the pages fly right by.
 
I would be unlikely to share Blankets with someone who told me they wanted to understand comix. Instead, I would give it to anyone who told me they wanted to read a book that made them feel transcendent, sad, generous, hopeful — but above all, to truly feel something.
added by stephmo | editPowells.com, Chris Bolton (Aug 23, 2003)
 
Part teen romance novel, part coming-of-age novel, part faith-in-crisis novel and all comix, "Blankets" is a great American novel.
added by stephmo | editTIME, Andrew Arnold (Jul 11, 2003)
 

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thompson, Craigprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Assis, ÉricoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
David, AlainTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dohmen, ToonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fliege, Claudiasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my family, with love.
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When we were young, my little brother Phil and I shared the same bed.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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