The West Boca Branch Library will be hosting a Graphic Novel Memoir Book Discussion on July 29th, at 10:30am. We will be discussing several different graphic memoirs, including Craig Thompson’s classic, Blankets. Blankets was originally published in 2003, by Top Shelf Productions. It was an instant classic, taking the comic world by storm. The memoir focuses on Thompson’s adolescence and being raised in an Evangelical Christian household. A majority of the story revolves around his first love, and how that relationship was shaped by his religious beliefs, and also how that relationship shaped his religious beliefs.
Blankets won countless awards upon its publication, and was featured on multiple year-end best-books lists. Many reviewers credit this book with expanding the medium of comics. Though there had been many non-superhero graphic novels published previously, few had reached the commercial and critical success of Blankets.
Blankets, as with most graphic memoirs, is deeply personal and instantly inviting. The reader is not only inside the story, but is immersed inside the author’s mind and memory. Thompson’s art does a masterful job of transporting the reader into his mind. It is a combination of realism and surrealism that gives the reader the experience of not only being in the physical moment being described, but also being inside the complicated and convoluted thoughts we have when processing new and exciting situations. This is just one of the many reasons Blankets makes for a great recommendation for new comic readers. It’s artistic and stylized, highlighting the power and prowess of graphic novels, while also being self-contained, approachable, and most importantly, relatable.
For libraries and librarians, Blankets is not only a must own, but also a must for book displays and readers’ advisory. The book offers the opportunity to reach new comic readers, as well as introduce the medium to readers who may look down on graphic novels. Additionally, Blankets is a great book to include in various book clubs, as it offers an evocative story that is sure to reach readers in different ways.