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Book: Blankets

February 18, 2010

Hot on the heels of fantastic novel #1 (Never Let Me Go), we have Fantastic Novel #2, a graphic novel this time. Oh, what a beautiful piece of art this book is.

I’m not really into graphic novels per se. I like a few (Strangers in Paradise, Sandman), but I haven’t really gotten into them as a thing.

You definitely do not have to be a fan of graphic novels to be incredibly, deeply moved by this lovely, lovely story of first love, growing up, bonding between siblings, religious journeys and the inevitable pain of all of it.

So many other people have written incredible, eloquent reviews of Blankets, and I don’t know what I could say that would add to the adoration.

* Lu
* Stefanie
* Ana
As Ana says, “Dear friends who haven’t read Blankets yet: please read it right now. I’m serious. And if you’re thinking, “Could it possibly be as good as everyone says it is?”, the answer is yes – as good, if not better.”

I took her advice (and everyone else’s) and I’m so glad I did. The story is incredibly touching. The art is wonderful. The story arcs are simple and clean and absorbing… it was crazy easy to read this in one sitting, completely blocking out the rest of the world.

Craig Thompson is the narrator (and author and artist) in this autobiographical account of growing up sharing a bed with his little brother (hilarious, moving, sad, scary, wonderful) and then later, falling in love for the first time, sharing a bed with someone for the first time (hilarious, moving, sad, scary, wonderful). The anguish and tension of first love, being a teenager, struggling with questions of faith and friendship and love and growing up.

Since everyone else has written such amazing things about it (and I’m very tired tonight and can’t seem to pull up the words I want to write), just a few personal thoughts about it.

While I didn’t have to sleep in the same bed as my little brother, we did have a great time having ‘sleepovers’ in each other’s room sometimes, which I now look back on as such sweet, fun times. He and I both also battled a terrific fear of the dark (ghosty house), sleepwalking (sometimes in tandem), and developed a keen eye for looking out for each other as we navigated childhood camping, fishing, skiing, etc. Now both in our 30s (crazy) we are very close. The sequences about wanting to protect his little brother (and sometimes, not being able to) just shot me right through the heart. I love my brother intensely and the painful scenes in Blankets just made me want to weep.

I’m sure everyone’s first experience with love is different, but I think everyone can find something to identify with as Craig and his friend Raina fall in love. That intensity, the narrow focus of only each other, the deep longing and joy. And the inevitable heartbreak when maybe somebody isn’t on the same page as you. More tears.

A big thick, hefty chunk of a graphic novel, I wanted more when it was over. I might even have to read it again before it goes back to the library.

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