Illustrations from Blankets by Craig Thompson, 2003
The 592-page autobiographical graphic novel Blankets by artist Craig Thompson is heavy on the hands and heart. It begins with the story of a young Craig Thompson who lives in Wisconsin with his Christian fundamentalist parents and his younger brother; both brothers are subjected to harsh discipline by their parents and sexual molestation by a male babysitter. Thompson, feeling like a misfit in school and church, is bullied for his looks, interests, and faith. But the maturing Thompson doesn't allow these negative episodes to define him, because what Blankets is about above all else is a universal message about the large life awaiting you outside the shrunken confines of your current situation and everything that encompasses: the seedy things you deal with alone; the complicated things you ignore; the regrets you have; a first love that consumes you until it runs its course and life not only miraculously goes on but gets better. It's a beautiful, sad, uplifting, snowy study of a life centered around—of all things—blankets.