Saturday, November 04, 2017

Blankets by Craig Thompson

There isn't much more to be said about Blankets, Craig Thompson's award-winning autobiography of his adolescence. It is visually stunning and the story strikes a deep chord in the heart and the memory. 

I remember those long winters and how long those winter breaks from school seemed back then. I remember we had four seasons back then, too. I recall how falling in love was so utterly foreign and absolutely all I wanted simultaneously, this deep desire to love and be loved. However, it was my unfortunate custom to go from zero to sixty, from an evening holding hands to proclaiming my deepest feelings in a few short days usually via a copied song lyric that completely overstated what I was trying to get across. "I'll cross the sky for your love" from U2's Drowning Man comes to mind. Oh those poor girls I must have overwhelmed with my adolescent ardor.

Now let's be clear, that wasn't Thompson's way at all. In fact, he sort of falls backwards into love with his heart's desire, Raina (I fell in love with her a bit myself while reading the story. Doesn't everybody?). In fact, he's almost as confused by her as he is attracted to her but they are of a pair. Certainly, an unlikely pair, she the lovely and popular to his introverted artiness. What initially binds them is their evangelicalism but it becomes clear when Craig visits Raina that they approach and hold their faith very differently. They sparkle and burn brightly but that is tough to maintain. 

If you don't read many or any graphic novels, I encourage you to try this. It is as good a story as you'll find in any print novel and the art is truly gorgeous. I also admire the courage it took to lay himself so bare and reveal those ugly parts of our youth that we want no one else to know even after all these years.