Book Review: Blankets by Craig Thompson

  Blankets tells the fictionalized story of the author, who grew up in a fundamentalist Christian home. Craig Thompson experienced an upbringing that paralleled mine in numerous aspects, which is one reason I chose to read the novel.

 

This graphic novel brings the characters to life in a way I had never experienced with graphic tales. (I confess, this was my first graphic novel, but I have read my share of comic books.) My hubby had to physically pull this book away from me since I wanted to keep reading it past our “lights out.” Most novels take me about 2-3 weeks to complete, but I finished Blankets in three days.

 

Why did I read Blankets?

 

It came highly recommended by the Books on the Nightstand podcast from two avid readers whom I trust. When they gave the story synopsis about its undertones on extreme religions, I paused the podcast and immediately placed a hold on the book from my local public library.

 

What are three aspects I enjoyed about Blankets?

 

The comics themselves were engaging. Since I am not a visual artist, I was amazed by the images’ depiction of emotion. They created a setting that cannot be attained in traditional textual novels.

 

The author’s recollections of his past through the novel are eerily similar to mine. I felt a connection to another writer through his story. I flashbacked several times to my own childhood and teenage struggles in this faction of Christianity. This experience is usually unpleasant. Because I viewed the events through Thompson’s lens, it was both bearable and illuminating.

 

I especially enjoyed the portrayal of the contradictions present in religion, especially the groups who hold to the Bible as The Inerrant Word of God. The footnotes at the end of the novel pinpoint only a few of the problem passages, enough to show the reader fallacies within fundamentalist belief systems.

 

Who should read Blankets?

 

I would most highly recommend this novel to those who have recently discovered their unbelief after being raised in a devout Christian home. Blankets is literary testimony that there is life after Christianity, without a god.

 

How did I feel after reading Blankets?

 

After reading Blankets, I felt a lightness coloring my remembrances of my past. I realized (again) that I am not alone in the scars that remain from my traumatic religious childhood. I almost felt like I relived my adolescence through the characters, cheering them on to free themselves from fear of leaving the faith.

 

If you have read this book, I would like to hear your thoughts about its impact upon you. Do you have any similar book recommendations?