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March Books 3) Blankets

3) Blankets, by Craig Thompson (.co.uk, .com)

One of the top 25 comics as listed by Time magazine. This is a beautifully told coming of age story, featuring first love at long distance, a repressive evangelical Christian background, and the heavy blankets of snow of Wisconsin and Michigan. (I had the first of these, but not really the second and nothing like the third.) It's actually a couple of days since I finished it, but I keep thinking of bits of it nostalgically.

Apart from being gripped by the central narrative, which as I said above reflects a part of my own teenage experience, I was also struck by the portrayal of Raina's adopted brother and sister, which of course reflects more my more recent life experiences. I can't think of any better portrayal of learning disabilities in any book I have read recently - and to put them in as important background characters, rather than front-stage protagonists (as in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time seemed to me to work awfully well.

Almost all of the story is told from Craig's point of view, or from Raina's if she is reminiscing to him. There's one point where this narrative strategy is very clearly broken - we suddenly switch to Raina's father when he finds his daughter and Craig sleeping together and runs away without waking them, and I don't recall any way in which Craig could have reconstructed this event from a later conversation. And yet, perhaps we are meant to infer that this is not meant to be a direct narrative, but Craig's later reconstructed explanation for Raina's subsequent behaviour to him: that she was being leant on by her father. Certainly without this hypothesis, her treatment of Craig seems out of character.

Anyway, I'm glad I tracked this one down.

Top UnSuggestion for this book: Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 10th, 2007 10:40 am (UTC)
Blankets is my favourite biography by some distance, and I grow ever more impatient waiting for him to produce something of similar length. There's a very good interview on the TCJ website which covers some aspects of Blankets in intriguing ways.

And there is also the review I wrote kicking around somewhere...
Mar. 10th, 2007 10:56 pm (UTC)
I also liked Blankets very much, and second nuttyxander's opinion about needing more stuff by Craig Thompson, although Goodbye Chunky Rice will help fill those gaps for yourself, Nicholas, if you're looking for something else.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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