Let me give credit where credit is due with this post. Chris, from Stuff as Dreams Are Made On recently wrote a review of the graphic novel Blankets that had me pretty sold on reading it. Since I'm new to the graphic novel game, I've needed good suggestions, and besides a handful of other book bloggers who read great graphic novels, Chris has been a GREAT resource. So, thanks to Chris for pointing this one out. It's only my second, but it was really captivating! Also, go check out his blog. Besides being a huge Saints fan (come on, how can you not be?), he's a great book blogger with lots of great book reviews.
Synopsis: Centering on themes of one boy's maturation from young, awkward boy, to outcast teen, and successful, thoughtful adult, Thompson tackles a number of difficult issues. Thompson's main character has grown up with a seemingly controlling father, a confusing and contradictory relationship with religion, assumed childhood abuse, and fringe status among his peers. Any one of these issues would make the main character's life troublesome, but this character successfully examines and tackles each one of them throughout this graphic novel. Not only does he tackle "life" as thrown at him, but falls in love with a young girl at Bible camp, adding an entirely different level of complexity to the story. In the end, we see a boy learn about the very real struggles of life that most of us encounter, even if we don't face all that he has, to learn to come out as a functioning human being.
Review: Not what I would think of a graphic novel, with its hard-hitting issues and sketches to depict them, I was duly impressed by Thompson's artistic expression of a coming of age story. The story stirred me, disturbed me, and made me think more about what life throws at us, and can I just say, how do any of us survive to get into adulthood? Don't misunderstand me here, while this story is gripping and heart-wrenching at times, it really is a beautiful book of love and triumph. There are scenes (assumed or portrayed) of drug use, abuse, and sensuality, but were artistically represented in a way that I thought was quite honest. Most poignant, from my opinion, were the young man's thoughts on religion and the shame it placed on him. I thought those points, incorporated into the other complications, really made for a great and compelling read. Devoured in one sitting, I would recommend this graphic novel to anyone wanting to try something more adult and artistic in its themes. While hard hitting, I really loved this great read. Try it! For more information see: Blankets.
*Review based from library copy.