Friday, November 24, 2006

Thinking About Blankets

Yeah, so I just finished reading Craig Thompson's critically acclaimed graphic novel, Blankets. I had heard so many good things about it I thought I would give it a try when I saw it during one of my library trips early in the week. Also, I knew it was autobiographical, somewhat sentimental and dealt with Thompson's first love so I was pretty sure I was going to like it. There are a few things that, when combined, make a story that will capture my undivided attention and those are three good ones right there.

Anyway, after setting the book down I think I can say the story was just as good as I'd heard. It was more than I expected, really. I was happy with how Thompson managed to keep things very subdued and very real, yet maintain a lyrical quality to the storytelling. The imagery and his art style probably had a lot to do with that, but considering it is a graphic novel written and drawn by the same guy, it's all the same thing.

Often in autobiographies I find that characters who are meant to be drawn from real life tend to be a bit too functional. Rather than seeming like a real person drifting through the narrative, these people appear and serve their purpose to drive the plot forward. Normally, this wouldn't be a problem, but when you know that these people are supposed to be real, it can grow tiresome to see. In Blankets Thompson's cast of characters had a warmth and reality to them. I never really felt like they served in that overly functional capacity. They came into the story and drifted out of the story as they were required and their actions all had an impact on Craig's life in varying degrees. This is what life is really like. That Thompson can weave them all in and out like that without exposing his narrative intent is a tribute to his skill as a storyteller.

I also didn't feel like he went out of his way to romanticize his past like many others writers do. His recollections of events/feelings never seemed to cross any lines that challenged my suspension of disbelief. They came across as honest and genuine. I don't know how much of it is fiction and how much is totally real, but I believed the story and in what the characters were going through.

All in all, I think I'm going to go out and buy this one sometime. I definitely would like to have this one in my personal library to look at whenever I choose and I'm pretty sure that, like Brooklyn Dreams, Blankets will be a perennial favourite that I return to with some regularity.


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