Booklist Reviews BLANKETS

“Booklist Reviews BLANKETS” / Booklist / Gordon Flagg / May 1, 2003

Thompson’s graphic novel debut, Goodbye Chunky Rice (1999), was a delicate parable of loss that garnered deserved acclaim. The eagerly awaited, autobiographical follow-up to it is more ambitious, more accomplished, and more accessible. Thompson recalls growing up in a religious family in rural Wisconsin, particularly his affectionate tussles with his younger brother, with whom he shared a bed and the titular blankets. A few years later, he experiences the painful intensity of first love with Raina, a girl from Michigan he meets at a regional church camp. When the pair are separated, his loss of faith in his love for Raina presages his later loss of religious faith. The blanket motif reappears throughout the work, forthrightly as the handmade quilt Raina gives him, and more subtly as the blank sheets of paper he confronts as a budding artist. Eschewing the usual alt-comics cynicism, Thompson’s evocation of high-school romance manages to be both romanticized and clear-eyed. His visual mastery shows in fluid line work, assured compositions, and powerful use of solid black areas and negative space. Weighing in at nearly 600 pages, this is a genuine graphic novel, with a universal appeal that suits it for any collection.

 

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