Perhaps this is a new trend, the graphic novel (or, in Craig Thompson’s case, the illustrated novel) which is really just a seeming semi-autobiographic tale of a difficult childhood (perhaps with over- or under-tones of sexual abuse). Perhaps it is easier to tell in this form? I suspect that this is actually not the case. I suspect that in both Bechdel’s and Thompson’s case they are expressing in the art form that comes naturally to them. Perhaps what is truly noteworthy here (and not at all new or trendy) is that the artist comes from a difficult background. This is something i’ve always wondered at. Is it that it takes that certain twist of perspective in order to offer the artistic expression of our world?
Whatever, Blankets is worth a look as a story of first love, first heartbreak, being on the outside looking in, and leaving your childhood behind (as we all must do at some point.) Thompson managed to keep his point of view tightly focused throughout this novel without ever seeming to slip, something that i noticed perhaps (i am sure using that word quite often in this post aren't i?) more here than i might have otherwise because so much of what i have been reading lately has had shifting perspectives. Maybe his autobiographical telling lent him the ability to do this, maybe i'm assuming too much, no matter, kudos to him. The character of Raina seemed a little ethereal, a little unfleshed, a little too angelic and hard to "get a hold of" (or find her motivation~to go back to my theatre roots) but i think that comes from the fact that she WAS his first love and she was his first broken heart. (And your heart breaks not just because someone you love leave you but because you leave them, and because you leave who you were when you were with them behind.)
All in all this is a beautiful, believable 600 page novel that i sat down and read in an evening.