Blankets: This autobiographical story details Thompson's adolescence and transition into adulthood. This book is about first love - Craig falls for a girl named Raina at church camp. They start to build a relationship in fits and starts as they deal with their complicated families. Both teens have been brought up to believe in God and go to church. Their faith is slowly unraveling as Craig deals with childhood trauma and distant parents and Raina watches her parents go through a painful separation as she cares for her siblings with Down's Syndrome. This story is difficult to read as Craig and Raina are let down by every adult in their lives. I desperately wanted someone to step in and take care of them and hoped they could find a happy ending.
The illustrations are incredibly striking, even though they are black and white. In fact, the lack of color matches the story. It's the perfect winter read as we watch Craig trudge through the bleak Wisconsin snow.
Castle Waiting: You know the story: a princess is cursed to prick her finger on a spinning wheel's needle and fall asleep until awakened by true love's kiss. She is saved by her prince and they ride off into the sunset. But what happened to the inhabitants of the castle after they left? Castle Waiting imagines the members of the court who stayed behind in the only home they had ever known. The castle becomes a refuge for those who need a safe place or those who don't quite fit in elsewhere.
This is a wonderful story that jumps into the backstory of multiple characters. We are treated to all of the usual tropes of magic, romance, and heroism but the heroes in this story are not the ones we expect. The women in these tales are all pretty good at saving themselves, even the nuns. I loved this one so much that I went ahead and ordered the second volume from the library.
Relish: This graphic novel is a life story told through food. Lucy is the daughter of a chef and she learned to appreciate cuisine early in life. Food evokes very specific memories for her, as it does for most of us. Lucy tells readers about helping her mother with catering and the farmer's market, balancing a relationship with her chef mother in the country and her food snob dad in the city, trying to make croissants in Venice, and visiting a friend in Japan.
The illustrations are quirky, colorful, and beautiful. Each chapter ends with a recipe that is doable for any level of cook. Her drawings and conversational style help readers to remember their own culinary memories and feel like it is possible for us to create and love food the way that she does.
What are your favorite graphic novels?