Tuesday, October 4, 2011


my library's cover

alternate cover

cover of music inspired by novel

Portuguese - soft cover

Spanish - hard cover

alternate cover

French version

Thompson, C. (2003). Blankets. Marietta, GA: Top Shelf Productions.
LS5385: YA Lit / Graphic Novel
Quote I liked: "On my first visit to the public library, I was like a kid at a candy store where all the candy was free. I gorged myself until my tummy ached."

Check this out - someone actually created a soundtrack inspired by this book (see cover 3 above).  Now that I've read it, I think I will explore and see what kind of music is on there.  If I were making a soundtrack for it, all the tunes would be sad sounding.  What a melancholy read. . .  Portuguese & Spanish covers are a little livelier but the snowy covers are more in step with the books tone/mood. (though some - DEFINITELY not all - of the flashbacks to stories with his brother are not sad).
I had to let this one sit with me a few days before writing about it, and honestly, I'm still not sure what to say. It is 582 pages, and as such, is not as quick a read as most books in this genre. And some parts of it make the term GRAPHIC novel more apropos than others.  Actually, the author defines the book as an illustrated novel.  Not sure there's enough text to make that distinction, though the story comes in loud and clear.

First off, if you or your child are looking for a humorous and light story, this is not an uplifting or particularly fun read. I was surprised by the content, which was pretty heavy and included questioning God/faith, divorce, bullying, isolation, teenage drug use and drinking, sexual molestation, masturbation, teenage intimacy, first love, first love lost. Some of this content was verbalized, some was illustrated, and some was broached both verbally and by illustrations. Some of this content was shown with the main character as a participant, other times as an observer.

It's silly that pencil drawings make a difference. . .I can't decide if I'm a prude or if I'm in mom-mode or what, but for example, when the molestation and masturbation were both told and illustrated, (not over-the-top, but more than enough) I got a little uncomfortable. These were not the only times, either. I think this was mostly because I was reading in terms of what would be appropriate in my school library.  Would I be more comfortable if it was in a novel? Probably. . . not sure why, though.

To be balanced, I suppose if there's a teenager struggling with some of these struggles, he/she wouldn't feel alone. And the story is about finding yourself, figuring out what (and who) you believe in. But the resolution is still a pretty lonely and dismal one, and my overall mood upon the conclusion of it was sort of melancholy.

The author definitely was effective in drawing-out the readers' emotions, and it's amazing we feel we know the main character, Craig, so well given it's a graphic novel. It truly was painful to read at times, which is the mark of a good writer, but in this case, also of a good illustrator.

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