I recently picked up and re-read Craig Thompson’s memoir opus Blankets one evening. At 600 pages it’s a bit of a doorstop, however the pages flew by. I had read it for the first time about 8 years ago, and felt that a re-read might yield a different reaction. To be honest life events have not been so awesome in the last little while and I wasn’t sure whether this bitter sweet tale might rip open a new hole inside my soul. Gratefully it didn’t.
This seminal autobiographical graphic novel is an incredibly apt choice for this time of year. Obviously due to the fact that the key events of the story take place during winter time in Michigan and Wisconsin respectively. (Seriously anyone who complains about winter time here in the west should go to Michigan where they would laugh in your face…) However, also I think it’s because in winter-time we cocoon ourselves in order to maintain any precious amount of heat that we can. In Blankets I found that Thompson brings to the page the warmth of nostalgia when looking back on his romance with Raina. You can almost feel it emanating from the page as you read.
Another storyteller might look upon this story with anger and bitterness but Craig takes a more agnostic approach. While he may not understand everything that happened in his childhood, he clearly believes that it has led him to become the man he is. And that man isn’t perfect but he is content, no longer a searcher. No longer restless or conflicted. There’s solace in that at least, especially in the cold hand that fate can often deal us.
This is but one aspect of this story, trust me I could go on for (web) pages, but I’ll just urge you to check it out. It’s worth the heft.
Check it out here at the Salt Lake City Public Library.