Thursday, March 30, 2006

Book Recommendation: Blankets

I haven't read many graphic novels, but this was one of the most beautiful books I've read.

[T]his sensitive memoir recreates the confusion, emotional pain and isolation of the author's rigidly fundamentalist Christian upbringing, along with the trepidation of growing into maturity. Skinny, naive and spiritually vulnerable, Thompson and his younger brother manage to survive their parents' overbearing discipline (the brothers are sometimes forced to sleep in "the cubby-hole," a forbidding and claustrophobic storage chamber) through flights of childhood fancy and a mutual love of drawing. But escapist reveries can't protect them from the cruel schoolmates who make their lives miserable. Thompson's grimly pious parents and religious community dismiss his budding talent for drawing; they view his creative efforts as sinful and relentlessly hector the boys about scripture. By high school, Thompson's a lost, socially battered and confused soul-until he meets Raina and her clique of amiable misfits at a religious camp. Beautiful, open, flexibly spiritual and even popular (something incomprehensible to young Thompson), Raina introduces him to her own less-than-perfect family; to a new teen community and to a broader sense of himself and his future. The two eventually fall in love and the experience ushers Thompson into the beginnings of an adult, independent life. Thompson manages to explore adolescent social yearnings, the power of young love and the complexities of sexual attraction with a rare combination of sincerity, pictorial lyricism and taste. His exceptional b&w drawings balance representational precision with a bold and wonderfully expressive line for pages of ingenious, inventively composed and poignant imagery. (Publishers Weekly, via amazon)


B. Spinoza said...

I enjoyed that book too.

Sadie Lou said...

I bought that book for my sister for Christmas. I have to admit--I read a lot of it before I wrapped it.
I'll have to buy it for myself.

Chana said...

Thompson's grimly pious parents and religious community dismiss his budding talent for drawing; they view his creative efforts as sinful

My Name is Asher Lev, anyone?

And- you're back! Yay!

Jewish Atheist said...

My Name is Asher Lev, indeed. Another great book. However, Asher Lev didn't have the love story which is central to this memoir. I'm thinking of posting about adolescent relationships and religion, as I think there's some interesting ground to cover there, but I don't have my thoughts together yet.

B. Spinoza said...

my pick for the week is The Fixer

Jack's Shack said...

Call me crazy, but I thought that you were closing shop for a while. I suppose my prayers were answered and that is why you are back. ;)

Jewish Atheist said...

jack's shack:


I decided that I'll continue blogging, but I'm going to cut back. Especially at night, when it seems to prevent me from getting enough sleep.

Flippy said...

A little blogging is better than none, no? Anyway, I'm glad you're back because I only found you last week.

The book looks interesting. I'll have to see if I can get away from my prejudice against graphic novels.

asher said...

Why does this sound so much like the movie "Carrie"? I always thought the woman who played her mother Piper Laurie did the best acting in a film I'd ever seen and no one remembers it. "Carrie, go to your closet".

JDHURF said...

“Especially at night, when it seems to prevent me from getting enough sleep.” – JA
Oh, my problem precisely I mean it’s three thirty in the morning and here I am! Glad that you decided to stick around, I love this blog it was the first atheist blog that I came across.

dan said...

Great book. I've read it several times over the last few years.

If you're interested in other auto/biograpical graphic novels I would suggest "Persepolis" (two volumes) by Marjane Satrapi, "Maus" (two volumes) by Art Spiegelman, and Epileptic (six volumes, but they can be bought as a single compilation) by David B.

"Persepolis" is about a young woman who grows up in Iran during the revolution. "Maus" is about a Holocaust survivor. "Epileptic" is based in France, and is about, surprise, surprise, what it's like to grow up with an epileptic brother and a family committed to alternative forms of medecine and community.

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