Recent Reading...Craig Thompson


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Andrea and I first ran across Craig Thompson’s work in our book club earlier this year. I was looking for a worthy graphic novel to dig into, and this one caught my attention.

Blankets (that book) is largely autobiographical, about coming of age in Wisconsin in a “Fundamentalist Christian” family. It’s a gorgeous book, and an honest (and often uncomfortable) look at his struggles with security, faith, family, and first love. I know several people who sat down with the 600-page book didn’t put it down until they finished it a couple of hours later. I even watched one friend do this at after a dinner get-together one evening…

But Blankets was Thomson’s second book, and the one I wanted to talk about is his first one, called, Goodbye, Chunky Rice. Apparently, it has been out of print for a while, at least until a new edition came out this May. We ran across it at Borders a couple of weeks ago, brought it home, and just recently got around to reading it.

It’s only 128 pages long and can be read in half an hour, but it’s also an affecting meditation on friendship and loss. While GCR is a somewhat lighter work than Blankets (partially because the main characters are anthropomorphized animals—Chunky Rice is a diminutive turtle, and his friend Dandel is a deer mouse), it still has a gravity to it. The plot feels incomplete, but in some ways, the incompleteness adds to the emotional weight of the story.

Andrea and I have both enjoyed Craig Thompson’s graphic novels and are looking forward to the next one. They’re both a good read if you can get your hands on a copy.

This interview gives a lot of good insight on the author and where he’s coming from, in relation to both books, if you’re interested…

Bret,
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Wednesday 01 November 2006 at 11:07 pm
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