I finished reading Craig Thompson's graphic novel Blankets this week. It's a coming-of-age memoir that loops and laces between Craig's relationship with his younger brother within his fundamentalist Christian family, his first love, loss, and ultimately the concept of belief.
I think on a personal level, I connect with Craig as a character in part because there were times on Bible retreats in my teen years when I did hide out with the other loners in an attempt to avoid some activities. I vividly recall two or three hours spent on a stairwell, joking around, and avoiding Foosball/the richer kids.
Thompson's use of space is impressive, and while the book is massive (about the size of a Bible), it's actually an incredibly fast read.
There are some weaknesses. Thompson's writing style pales in comparison to his artistic style, so while some written parts seem a bit wobbly and perhaps didactic and simplified (only some parts, certainly not all!), the art makes up for this small lack. Ultimately a graphic novel is just that: graphic, so in that sense, Thompson's work is a masterpiece of storytelling. It's very organic in the sense that it feels like, at times, being in someone's mind, rather than simply seeing a story from the outside. Two weeks in the book's timeline feel like two years, and that seems just about right, if I'm remembering teenagerhood's odd sense of time. Highly recommended, particularly for those with a churched background (good or ill).