Sunday, April 18, 2010

Book Review - Blankets: An Illustrated Novel by Craig Thompson


Title: Blankets: An Illustrated Novel
Author: Craig Thompson
Year: 2003
Page: 592
Genre: Graphic book

New to me author? Yes
Read this author again? Probably not
Tearjerker? No
Where did it take place? US
FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from
Thompson offered readers well-realized but fantastic characters in a tale that nicely combined sentiment with adventure. This second, much longer work shares the acuity for character development and dynamic sensitivity that makes the author so compulsively readable. In Blankets, however, realism reigns supreme in both the story arc and in the humanity of its characters. Thompson himself is the protagonist, and this is his tale of growing up, falling in love (and realizing the physical and moral complications that can imply), discovering the texture and limits of his faith, and arriving at a point from which he can look back at those experiences. The snowy Midwest, peopled by overweight parents, hairy youths, and lovingly depicted younger siblings-including a respectfully and realistically treated minor character with Down syndrome-is energetically realized in Thompson's expressive lines and inking. Much of the story occurs when Craig and his brother Phil are young boys and includes images of such boyish pranks as peeing on one another. Older high school students who have reached an age when nostalgia is possible will warm to Thompson's own wistfulness. This is a big graphic novel, in concept and successful execution.

First Sentence:
When we were young, my little brother Phil and I shared the same bed.

Why did I pick this book?
I first heard about this graphic book from Regular Rumination's blog (see review here.) I haven't read graphic books for a long time, not since I was a kid (okay I lied, I tried reading Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel not too long ago, BEFORE I started seeing it on blogs, and couldn't finish it... I just couldn't get into it and wasn't interested enough to find out what happened. So I didn't count it.) So, in trying to expand my reading genre this year, I thought I'd give this a try since I had read a few good reviews of Blankets.

My thoughts:

  • When I picked this book off the shelf at the library, my first thought was, wow, this is huge! It's 1.5" thick!
  • I don't know... I don't find the story (or some said it's a memoir?) that interesting or touching or insightful. The plot was rather simple. I didn't find the "first love" part that heartwarming/heartbreaking. The part I enjoyed the most probably was the part about Craig and his brother when they were little. There were also some religious references in the book. There were some sensitive issues in the book but I guess reading books on similar topics in words had more impact on me
  • While the drawing is not really the style I like, I do appreciate Craig's talent - I have never drawn comic or storyboard, so it definitely requires a special skill. 
  • I have never wandered into the Graphic Books section at the library! So this was a first for me. I also borrowed another set of graphic books by Yoshihiro Tatsumi ("Tatsumi has been called the grandfather of Japanese alternative comics"), we'll see if I feel differently about graphic books after reading them.


"SHARED" is the sugar-coated way of saying we were TRAPPED in the same bed, as we were children and had no say in the matter. (p10)


Have you read this book? 
If you have, I would love to hear what you think!
I'll link your review here if you wish!

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Take Another Chance


  1. The cover sounds so cute but the quote sounds negative. Thanks for the review :)

  2. @Juju - yes the cover is cutsy but the topics dealt with can get a little dark...

  3. I tried a graphic novel for my genre switch-up too and wasn't sure it was for me.

  4. @Jenners, I don't know if it's for me either...