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@Download Kindle Ü Blankets ì Wrapped in the landscape of a blustery Wisconsin winter, Blankets explores the sibling rivalry of two brothers growing up in the isolated country, and the budding romance of two coming of age lovers A tale of security and discovery, of playfulness and tragedy, of a fall from grace and the origins of faith. How satisfying it is to leave a mark on a blank surface To make a map of my movement no matter how temporary and because I couldn t decide between the two At night, lying on your back and staring at the falling snow, it s easy to imagine oneself soaring through the stars Initial Final Page Thoughts.Those last 3 pages, wow High Points.Craig.Snow Brothers Church camp Patchwork Under the pool table Cubby holes Identity Faith The future First loves Doubt It s reassuring And, of course, the illustrations.How can people say they don t like graphic novels when they look like these ones On the back of my book, Entertainment Weekly described Blankets as visual poetry and I can t help but agree It truly is wonderful Low Points.This book won t be for everyone and, I don t mind admitting this, it wasn t for me for a good 100 pages in the middle But don t worry because the other 400 pages I loved.I m not sure what it was but there was something about the feel of the story that I just wasn t getting.I also didn t know that this book was going to be so focussed on religion and Craig s struggle with his faith I m not religious but I find religion fascinating and a lot of my close friends are religious so I know how hopefully how to treat it with respect, even if I don t agree.I loved how Mr Thompson portrayed the conflict and his own personal struggles after having such an intense Christian upbringing respectfully and intelligently.I also loved that he didn t go down the whole Uhh, yeah, religion is crap But why is it crap Uh well, because it is road He actually had a reasoning for his feelings and he portrayed them honestly and without an agenda.The only problem with this is that, because I m not completely familiar with Christianity, a lot of it went over my head I can t help but think I would have enjoyed those 100 or so pages if I d known about the subject.Hero.I feel a bit strange talking about this because obviously Blankets is a memoir and Craig is uh, well real, but never mind.It s safe to say that Craig broke my heart on every single page His narration, or appropriate, his feelings which were poured on each page, had such unflinching honesty were both parts incredibly brutal and beautiful I don t want to say much because I kind of want you to meet him on your own Reaaaad it Love Interest.Oh Raina, you little dreamer I can t help but feel you would be best friends with all of John Green s heroines I m finding it quite difficult to talk about Raina and her role in her book because when you look at it from a distance it s easy to describe it as Oh yeah, it s all about first love and flirting and snowball fights and snow frolicking.And yeah, Craig s relationship with Raina and the accompanying emotions takes up about 300 pages of this book but the story really isn t anything about that.To me, it s about Craig s isolation, his struggle with his faith and his need to find his place in the world Also, there are no snowball fights but there is snow frolicking.I loved how Mr Thompson used Raina illustrate how easily people can move on from things that were so amplified at a certain point in their life, almost to the extent that they gave them definition But when you move past it and look back, you realise that it wasn t as shiny and important as you first thought Sometimes, upon waking, the residual dream can be appealing than reality, and one is reluctant to give it up But I wouldn t say that this was really a love story The pictures in this section were my favourite though, so gorgeous and striking Also, Raina can make patchwork blankets Infinite Brownie points for her Illustrations.I feel saying whether I loved these illustrations will be redundant because it s safe to say I love all illustrations I can think of three reasons why this could be 1 The illustrations truly are beautiful 2 I can t draw for toffee so I respect people who can 3 I love everything, I m boring and I m predictable Combination of all three But I really did love these illustrations and they ve brought me to come to the decision that I prefer graphic novels in black and white I adored how you could tell that each page was thought about carefully, where each panel would be placed on the page, where the dialogue bubble would go Everything, even down to the swirls in the dream pages Theme Tune.Keep Your Head Up by Ben Howard.Sadness Scale 8 10 I really want to give certain authors this book to show them the meaning behind the phrase show not tell You know in films where the best harrowing emotional scenes are told with no dialogue, minimal background music and subtlety That is what Blankets is like I can t describe it properly, and hopefully people who are familiar with graphic novels will understand what I m trying to say, but emotional scenes in graphic novels seem to somehow create a sense of distance minimal words telling you how you should feel and intimacy almost like you re looking through their living room window as their world falls apart that other books can t seem to recreate.I love books, whether they re written or graphic, that present all the pieces but leave the reader to put them together Recommended For.People who have ever struggled to figure out where they fit in with it all People who love stunning illustrations People who have ever believed their bedroom was the sea and their bed was a boat I actually used to pretend my floor was lava, I was a very strange kiddywink People who enjoy making quilts People who refuse to stand up for mediocrity People who refuse to believe in static it s always magic People who would get ignored at Church Camp.You can read this review and other exciting things on my blog here. Craig Thompson, for all the lack of works in his bibliography, is one of the best creators working in comics today Apart from Blankets, he has only released one other major work of fiction His third, Habibi , will be released this Fall The cutest of meet cutes There are any number of reasons that Thompson s work should be lauded His art is gorgeous and his brushline expressive He treats personal topics with a sense of both whimsy and honesty He writes true experiences, even when they re fictional And as great as all those things are, there is one idea that stands out in his work that I ve yet to see another creator tackle let alone master as Thompson has done.His sense of the sacred and his ability to convey it in ink is breathtaking He offers his readers these holy moments, these frozen, fluid, organic treasures These sacramentals Whether he intends to lead the reader into a religious experience or not, his work really is very spiritual As spiritual as an atheistic holy experience can actually be at any rate There may be moments in Miyazaki that approach the wonder of the sanctuaries that Thompson builds in Blankets It s for this reason among others that Thompson s second book remains one of my favourites, even years after having first encountered it.The sweetly disturbing sentimental journey that was seeded years earlier in Thompson s Goodbye Chunky Rice finds pregnant fruit in his nearly 600 page opus, Blankets Semi autobiographically chronicling via chrono thematic structuring his early life from his establishment in faith and his discovery of love to his abandonment of that love and his subsequent abandonment of faith Thompson plays honestly at all times with his story elements, thereby lending his tale an uncanny credibility And while flashbacks and tangents proliferate, the overarching chiastic structure verifies the reader s intuition that Thompson knows well where he is headed and is going to take you there whether you like it or not Kinda want to punch this lady right in the breadbox Thompson s illustrated avatar acts, at all times, with striking realism and the chaos of his thoughts is entirely believable if not exactly illustrative of the average meditative development The Thompson that frets and plays in Blankets we ll call him Craig is highly introspective and acts often in the heat of his youthful emotional turmoil, rather than from a simple, sensible motivation And though one may often wish to chastise him for such sillinesses, his youthful passion and pendular over reactions will than likely endear Craig to readers as they recognize than a little of themselves in him.This book is a masterpiece of form, symbol, and structure Tokens bend and writhe and carry narrative significance throughout Thompson s art here is fluid and is of that less polished variety found also in Goodbye Chunky Rice and serves well to establish the variety of moods described in his several vignettes.From the perspective of one who grew up both in a faith community that was friendlier to the arts and in a home whose high standards weren t as strictly enforced, I found his story particularly compelling and tragic Surrounded by hypocrisy and a weak kneed, moralistic fundamentalism, the source of his disillusionment is not difficult to see Perhaps Blankets greatest quality is the empathy it exerts from the reader I pitied and cared for Craig I felt the same for his brother, his parents I mourned for Raina, Craig s love interest in the book I grew despondent for her family More than anything, I wanted to hug each of these characters and make it all right and sensible again Man, how brutal to be Thompson s parents, years later to read this panel and think Oh crap I did that to a child I wanted to surprise him and all he could think about was whether he had sinned And not even whether he was in trouble but whether he had sinned And the whole while, my anger kindled toward an institutionalization of faith whose expression was not compassion, not mercy, not love That Craig lived in a locale whose cutural acumen was bent toward a fear and persecution of that which skewed from the status quo is a horror that can be understood while still remaining a horror That his subculture should behave identically, built on a foundation of fear when it ought to be built on joy, peace, and love is terrifying Thompson s work engaged in me a fury for a people and place with which I have no experience They may not even exist as he portrayed them, but at the least, it is a challenge for me to not hate these characters who actively tear down Craig s life even from a young age And as someone who actively tries not to hate anyone, consider this a testament to the veracity with which Thompson draws out Craig s life and circumstance Blankets is an evocative work that should not be missed by any who would appreciate a serious, heartfelt, and magical telling of the tragedy and wonder of what it means to come of age review courtesy of Good Ok Bad Here are seven lines from Blankets that pretty much sums up the story 1 I couldn t fathom that the soul trapped in my child body would be transplanted to its grotesque adolescent counterpart.2 But in that little pathetic clump of blankets there was comfort.3 We both knew that nothing existed for us outside of the moment.4 Maybe I m sad about wanting you I m not too comfortable with wanting someone.5 Shame is always easier to handle if you have someone to share it with.6 How satisfying it is to leave a mark on a blank surface To make a map of my movement no matter how temporary.7 Even a mistake is better than nothing. Every year I teach this book in my YA course it comes up as one of the top three favorite texts in the course I might go so far as to say it is one of the top five or ten graphic novels of all time Powerful, gorgeous, touching, expressive, it s among other things a meditation on first or young love, with sweeping and or anguished art accomplished in the romantic tradition, with all the emotional highs and lows of young love Thompson s story might be described as autobiographical fiction set in Wisconsin, where he grew up with his controlling parents and his brother Phil, art and fantasy he calls it dreaming are his escapes Craig can t choose what he reads or sees on television His father is a tyrant His primary escapes are his drawing, nature, and play fantasy with his brother He for a time turns to his parents religion as a kind of escape from the world, with that promise of Heaven, and considers the encouragement from his pastor that he, a thoughtful, earnest boy, follow the ministerial calling But it s a promise also filled with dark threats of Hell at one point, led by a suggestion from his teachers that art is selfish, un Christian, the darkly intense Craig burns all of his artwork 16, at a Bible summer camp, Craig meets and falls in love with Raina, a kind of ethereal beauty whom he fancies is like him, a loner, into nature, increasingly less into organized religion And he s physically attracted to her, which is something he struggles with against the backdrop of a religion that forbids this very attraction as the sin of lust After camp they exchange letters and he visits her upper Michigan home for almost a week She makes a quilt a blanket for him, that becomes an emblem of their relationship in return he paints a tree on her wall with the two of them in it They sleep together, they are in love I have now read Blankets a few times In the last reading and review I had developed the idea I am sure informed by others reading with me that the girl, Raina, is never quite real for Craig, almost completely idealized, a creation by him of what it is he needs to escape from his oppressive circumstances, his conservative family, his being bullied at school Throughout the book we increasingly see Raina with a halo, angelic, and I thought This is an indication of his unrealistic view of her While I think this escape theory is true in some sense, I have come back around to Seth Hahne s view of the book, that Craig s view of Raina her individualism, her body sexuality, her responsibility for her two special needs brothers and sisters is part of the construction of his view of her as sacred Craig really does love Raina, and she is part of his constructing a positive, human, embodied spirituality He still believes in God, he still knows the Bible, but he reads the sacred in the world increasingly as different than the fundamentalist upbringing he was limited to His is a personal spirituality, not group think religion The sacred he sees in the world comes to re include his art as meaning making thus the book Art, like spirituality, emerges out of patterns, a patchwork quilt of personal characteristics and commitments The artwork in Blankets is also a patchwork quilt of gorgeous, sweeping, romantic images of the natural world snow, trees, weather , likening it to patterns in Raina s dress and hair, open and free and spacious and lovely in contrast to the darker, sinister patches of his oppressive house and Sunday school There s also an emblem or mark that weaves its way through the book, present whenever Craig recognizes something as sacred At one point that essentially Calvinist raised Craig even forgives himself enough for his transgressions to even share a halo with Raina.When they part, however, as most 16 year old romances do, Craig is still darkly intense in, as with his art, earlier, burning all the artifacts and letters Raina as shared with him He imagines erasing, white washing, the very painting he has made for Raina All memories gone, is his goal Except the blanket, thank goodness, which becomes the basis for the book, and his embrace of the patchwork quilt of storytelling Blankets is a gorgeously expressive, exquisitely drawn book about first love, religion, family, art, nature, memory, blankets It s a dark book filled with angst and fears, and also a gorgeous, swirling romantic sweep of a book He is one anguished dude, this young Craig, so complicated and messed up by religion and family, and yet he dedicates it to his family, with love, and also makes it clear that the sacred is important for him and others A must read, and a beautiful work of art.Craig Thompson interview