I’m continuing to work my way through the novels that peaked my interest on the NPR top 100 graphic novels list, which is how I found Blankets by Craig Thompson. It’s an incredibly sweet story of coming of age and dealing with your first love.
The story follows Craig as he grows up in a small town in central Wisconsin. A central part of the book is his struggle with Christianity and the book follows as he works his way through that and falls in love for the first time. Thompson’s description of small town life in the upper Midwest is so dead on, echoing much of my early childhood in a small town in Minnesota.
But it wasn’t just location where the book echoed some of my childhood experiences, but also the struggle with faith. I grew up in a church and went through Sunday school, confirmation, and was very involved in my high school youth group; as I read about Craig struggling with what role faith would play in his life, I recalled several moments from my own childhood and adolescence.
Blankets reminds me a bit of Alison Bechdel’s work, an autobiography of growing up in a family and dealing with all that comes with the complications of how our families work. And in this book, as in Bechdel’s, I was able to reflect on my own family and roots.