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Blankets: 06/12/15

cover art

Blankets by Craig Thompson is one of those graphic novels that seems to be on everyone's list that for one reason or another I hadn't read. One reason stems from it being published in 2003 which is before I had even considered reading graphic novels (I'm not even sure by then I'd heard the term).

Anyway, Blankets is about a pair of brothers being raised in a hyper religious and abusive home — and the older brother's coming to terms with how that has affected him as an adult. He begins with a flashback to the time when he and his brother had to share not only the same room, but the same bed.

The bed up in the attic in the winter was too cold (like dangerously so) and in the summer, too hot (and also probably dangerously so). If they got into fights, one of them would be locked into the storage area between the walls, a dark, scary place with spiders and who knows what else.

Then there are the Christian summer camps which for a poor kid are hell on earth. But it's at one of these that he meets his girl friend and begins to learn how to rebel. She teaches him how to play within the rules, and when to outright break them.

But the meat of the story is the time he takes off from school to spend at her house. It's a chance to experience a very different family setting, with its own family problems.

While it's played for romance and certainly both teens are under the spell of hormonal driven passion, their time together is more disturbing than romantic (at least seen through this adult's eyes).

And all of this coming of age tale is told through Thompson's blue and white drawings. They are poetic and dramatic, filling in the blanks let otherwise unspoken by the text.

Five stars

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