I finished my first book of 2009 last night. Blankets is an autobiographical graphic novel by Craig Thompson. He tells the story of growing up in an extremely fundamentalist Christian family, falling in love for the first time, and finding his own way in the world.
Blankets is heartbreakingly honest and amazingly drawn. Thompson's words are haunting, but the emotion that he portrays with the pen-and-ink illustrations is profound. This book made me sad on so many levels. As a parent, I was horrified with the abusive discipline Craig's father inflicted on Craig and his younger brother, Phil. As a Christian, I was extremely sad to see how cold-hearted and mean and ungracious the Christians in Craig's life had been. It makes me sick to know how many Christians are exactly like that - they suck all the joy out of loving God.
I closed the book with many questions left unanswered: did Craig ever get in touch with Raina, his first love, again? Was he ever able to address the issues of his upbringing with his parents or brother? Did he come to some measure of peace with God, or did he lose his faith completely? I'm still thinking about Blankets - a true sign of a good book.
4 out of 5 stars
Side note: this wasn't one of the original titles on my Graphic Novel Challenge list, so I still have six to go. Oh, well, it counts for my 100+ and Support Your Local Library Challenges.