‘Blankets’ is the story of a young man’s first romance and his relationship with his faith. It also delves into his childhood memories along the way.
The art is excellent, if not superb. It’s imperfect at times, but it remains a tour de force in its overall delivery, mixing realism, fantasy and surrealism in a comprehensive whole. It’s easy to follow, it’s gorgeous and yet its intricate and detailed at the same time.
I thoroughly enjoyed the tender, naïve and slightly triste quality of this blossoming love story and its outcome. It feels real, but the reasons for the ending remains somewhat unexplained. Why did Craig cut ties? It seemed so sudden without further explanation, but I’m sure there’s a lot that was left unsaid.
The character’s predilection for burning his past is unfortunate. It saddened me some, because he will never be able to return to those memories in a more concrete form. I’ve never quite understood it when people have admitted to doing this because I think that memories should be kept, even the bad ones. (full disclosure: I have once burned stuff for therapeutic reasons, but they were proxies or things I was going to get rid of anyway. Plus which I have pictures of that cathartic moment )
My only beef with the book is that I would have ended after 8 chapters instead of adding a 9th one. To me, this would have left us with a sad, bittersweet quality to our tale. I think that it would have been more poignant, memorable on an emotional level.
However, the book was apparently intended to be a way for the author to tell his parents that he had left the Church, and that last chapter completely takes care of the matter. Unfortunately, it feels like a completely different bit, unrelated to the rest of the book – it could have been an epilogue or a separate short (and had he done that, it wouldn’t have watered down the first 8 chapters, which have a different emotional core).
The problem with this final part is that nothing really explains what took place between the 8th and 9th chapters. We are told the reasons why he questioned his faith, but it seems abrupt, somewhat random given how immersed he was previously, in the rest of the book. It’s a relatively dramatic turn of events but it leaves us with little understanding of it.
Still, all in all, ‘Blankets’ is a very nice book. In my mind, it has some storytelling flaws, but it’s a beautifully crafted book and it holds enough emotionally sincere moments that readers would be remiss to bypass it.