Sunday, February 21, 2010

RAview: Blankets

Craig Thompson's Blankets is a graphic novel that follows Craig from boyhood to adulthood, and focuses on his first love.

I don't know how applicable pacing is to graphic novels, but despite being a shockingly fat book, this was a quick read. It has a higher proportion of images to words, which I prefer in GN. It's a character-driven story; the protagonist is sympathetic and likable. The girlfriend is complex but appealing, and the secondary characters are understandable tropes.

Story line themes include religion, faith, the pain of childhood, bullies, teenage sexual frustration, love, desire, abuse, teens shouldering excess responsibility, divorce, family, changing perspectives, drawing.

The wintry setting is meaningful as a symbol of change and innocence. Details illustrate Craig's love for Raina and his self-doubt/inner struggles with his faith. The tone, to me, was quite sad, but that could be unique to me as a reader. Other more common feelings are probably awe, wonder, longing, frustration, warmth, nostalgia.

The only book I've read that comes close to a readalike is Skim, which is a similarly quiet GN story of coming of age, contemplation of love, youthful angst. But it is slight compared to this book, and more visual and impressionistic. Weather and seasons also play a role. Blankets is more directly about a love relationship.

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