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Blankets Paperback – August 7, 2003

327 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Revisiting the themes of deep friendship and separation Thompson surveyed in Goodbye Chunky Rice, his acclaimed and touching debut, this sensitive memoir recreates the confusion, emotional pain and isolation of the author's rigidly fundamentalist Christian upbringing, along with the trepidation of growing into maturity. Skinny, naive and spiritually vulnerable, Thompson and his younger brother manage to survive their parents' overbearing discipline (the brothers are sometimes forced to sleep in "the cubby-hole," a forbidding and claustrophobic storage chamber) through flights of childhood fancy and a mutual love of drawing. But escapist reveries can't protect them from the cruel schoolmates who make their lives miserable. Thompson's grimly pious parents and religious community dismiss his budding talent for drawing; they view his creative efforts as sinful and relentlessly hector the boys about scripture. By high school, Thompson's a lost, socially battered and confused soul-until he meets Raina and her clique of amiable misfits at a religious camp. Beautiful, open, flexibly spiritual and even popular (something incomprehensible to young Thompson), Raina introduces him to her own less-than-perfect family; to a new teen community and to a broader sense of himself and his future. The two eventually fall in love and the experience ushers Thompson into the beginnings of an adult, independent life. Thompson manages to explore adolescent social yearnings, the power of young love and the complexities of sexual attraction with a rare combination of sincerity, pictorial lyricism and taste. His exceptional b&w drawings balance representational precision with a bold and wonderfully expressive line for pages of ingenious, inventively composed and poignant imagery.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-Thompson's Good-bye, Chunkie Rice (Top Shelf, 1999) offered readers well-realized but fantastic characters in a tale that nicely combined sentiment with adventure. This second, much longer work shares the acuity for character development and dynamic sensitivity that makes the author so compulsively readable. In Blankets, however, realism reigns supreme in both the story arc and in the humanity of its characters. Thompson himself is the protagonist, and this is his tale of growing up, falling in love (and realizing the physical and moral complications that can imply), discovering the texture and limits of his faith, and arriving at a point from which he can look back at those experiences. The snowy Midwest, peopled by overweight parents, hairy youths, and lovingly depicted younger siblings-including a respectfully and realistically treated minor character with Down syndrome-is energetically realized in Thompson's expressive lines and inking. Much of the story occurs when Craig and his brother Phil are young boys and includes images of such boyish pranks as peeing on one another. Older high school students who have reached an age when nostalgia is possible will warm to Thompson's own wistfulness. This is a big graphic novel, in concept and successful execution.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Top Shelf Productions (August 7, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1891830430
  • ISBN-13: 978-1891830433
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (327 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

CRAIG THOMPSON's previous graphic novels include Blankets (for which he received three Harvey Awards for Best Artist, Best Graphic Album of Original Work, and Best Cartoonist; and two Eisner Awards for Best Graphic Album and Best Writer/Artist); Goodbye, Chunky Rice; and Carnet de Voyage. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

149 of 156 people found the following review helpful By Sibelius on April 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
When you first come into physical contact with this book, taking this brick-sized 600 page monster into your hands and cracking open the covers - the heft alone should tell you that this is no ordinary graphic-novel/comic-book. A few pages into this book and you'll immediately be hooked. Your fingers will flip through page after page and before you know it you'll already have consumed several hundred pages of what will surely go down as a monument to the medium of the graphic novel the way Art Spiegelman's, 'Maus,' did in the 80's and Neil Gaiman's, 'Sandman' series offered throughout the 90's.
'Blankets,' at its core is a simple, timeless story (coming of age, first-love, alienation, anxiety, pursuit of spiritual identity, teen-angst) told thousands of times over the millenia (books, poems, songs, movies, television) but perfectly captured, perhaps for the first time, in comic-strip form. This book is exquisitely plotted, paced, written and drawn and by the end of it all one can't help but be left dazed at the sheer artistic excellence demonstrated by Thompson, from start to finish, through thousands of panels. Visually, the black and white artwork is a stunner but perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of all is Thompson's gift for prose with not a wasted word to be found in his minimalistic narrative that still manages to be filled with layer after layer of subtext.
This truly is a title not to be missed by anyone with an appreciation for the written word, not to mention the graphical novel format. The stylish cover design and paper quality also lends itself very well as a gift-giving item.
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78 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Jamie S. Rich on July 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
Much has been made in recent years of how the graphic novel-and as a result, the comic book-has matured and come into its own. This is indeed, true, as subject matter and approach in the comics industry has become much more fluid. Yet, most stories were still serialized before they were printed in book form, and the ones that struck out on their own and did it in one-go (including some by my own company, Oni Press), were significant, but not yet reaching the full breadth that the word "novel" implied.
Enter Craig Thompson. Nearly five years ago, he released his first major work, GOODBYE CHUNKY RICE. It was an excellent piece of sequential fiction, but much like, say, the first album by Nirvana or Andi Watson's SKELETON KEY (or even THE COMPLETE GEISHA) or Todd Haynes' POISON, it was only a glimmer of what was to come. Since that time, Thompson has locked himself away and honed his first masterpiece-an ambitious narrative clocking in at nearly 600 pages. Sure, you can write it off as a coming of age story (a coming of age story in an art form that still is coming up with its standards for most literary genres, and thus still coming of age itself), but that would be to say THE BELL JAR is merely the story of a depressed poet or GOODFELLAS about a guy who gets an interesting job. BLANKETS is the story of an artist in a state of becoming, a boy walking down a road where people in the houses on either side are attempting to get him to stop and play in their yard. It's the tale of said boy figuring out how to stick to the middle, and stay true to himself.
Semi-autobiographical, BLANKETS outstrips the standard coming-of-age novel by giving it a perspective that only the comic book would allow him.
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Spencer in Seattle TOP 100 REVIEWER on October 26, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Craig Thompson's Blankets is a big, hefty, slab of a graphic novel -- the kind of book that requires you to develop strategies for holding it up when you're reading in bed or draping yourself over the edge of the couch. I found that the book was easiest to read in bed with my knees in the air. That way, its massiveness could be propped up on my knees and the pages fairly easily turned.

Blankets is an elegantly inked autobiographical coming of age story about a boy, Craig, who is dealing with mid-west mullet-sporting hicks, extremely overzealous Christians for parents, an only minimally explained instance of childhood molestation (by an apparent stranger with bad skin), much more direct and violent abuse from the before-mentioned extremely overzealous Christian father, and relief from all of this only in the form of church camp. When church camp spells your relief from it all, you know you're in trouble.

The character Craig's childhood is rendered sweetly charming by the author Craig's portrayal of two brothers sleeping in the same bed together in a poorly insulated attic room and managing to weather the turmoil of the childhood they didn't choose for themselves or each other. They draw, but most of all, they summon creativity: that force kids can bring to life in even the worst of situations.

At church camp one year, much later in his adolescence, Craig meets Raina, the alluringly drawn bad-for-a-Christian girl who Craig falls for and then the book falls for -- about half of the text, right up until a very-nearly tacked on section at the end, is spent describing Craig's slow-boil relationship with Raina.
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