This is a time in life when we begin to question our experiences, our beliefs, our pasts, and wonder about the future. A time when we are on the cusp of adulthood, and responsibility, we are saying goodbye to childhood and the safety of our homes. We must learn to shed a skin, a piece of ourselves, and we are fearful of letting go. Our parents are becoming our peers, and it is scary.
Craig is questioning his Christian teaching, his future in school (should he attend art school or no?); so, meeting Raina fits right in with this static state, the transition from child to man. She is in the inbetween, a prospect of a future, if they can make the distance work.
The meat of the novel takes place while Craig is visiting Raina's family for a couple weeks. She lives with her two adopted siblings (both mentally challenged) and her parents (who are going through an ugly divorce). Raina's parents lives are changing, a mirror image of Raina and Craig beginning their relationship. Beginning and end. So, while they are falling in love, her parents lives are imploding. It affects the trip, changes the perspectives of both Craig and Raina in terms of their relationship.
The novel is dark, passionate, powerful. It speaks to the teen in all of us. While I did not love it, I did like the message of hope at the end. That we all want to make some kind of imprint in our lives, and in the lives of those we meet. I also liked the idea that memory changes and becomes dreamlike; how, as we age we change our memories, exaggerating the horrific or making the good become amazing.
The blanket (the namesake of the book) plays an important role; Raina has made it for Craig and given it to him as a gift. It is used throughout to highlight the distance slowly growing between them. When Craig puts it away, he is putting away his childhood; when he finally brings it out again, it becomes a comfort, a warmth, a way to reach back into the past and remember who he was once and who he loved. It is a patchwork, like our lives. Each moment is a square, some moments have become faded, some are crisp and clear, some are memorized as our favourites, and some are completely forgotten, but each square is important, and each square makes up the whole.
My three favourite pages were heavy on graphics and light on words.