Good-Bye, Chunky Rice

Craig Thompson’s Blankets is the most moving graphic novel I’ve ever read and one of the strongest stories of any medium I’ve been lucky enough to experience. When I bought his first book, Good-Bye, Chunky Rice on Thursday I had rather high expectations but opened the cover knowing it had the potential to be a lesser, quite different book.

Good-Bye, Chunky Rice turned out to be a wonderful exploration of being far from the people we love, though in a quite different way from Blankets. Chunky Rice is a small turtle who has followed wanderlust onto a sea journey that takes him away from his love Dandel, a mouse. On his way to the ship he’ll travel on and once on aboard it, Chunky encounters other characters feeling the loss of and distance from people they love, each possessing a sense of sorrow and a complex personal struggle. Soloman, a roommate of Chunky and brother of the ship’s captain, for instance had a harsh childhood and seeks a relationship he lost with his brother as well as any sort of friendship he can find.
The art of this story is quite cartoon-like, at times sweetly tender and at others jarring and stark. Dialogue is minimal within these pages but there’s no sense of it being lacking because the illustrations are rich with emotion and narrative motion. Through coincidence or plan, the pair most in love, Chunky and Dandel, are also the most beautiful and tenderly rendered. Dandel’s release of bottle messages for Chunky provide the most moving moments in the story, in part because of her fragile appearance and large, glossy eyes.
Good-Bye, Chunky Rice isn’t Blankets, but few stories can hold that kind of magic. This is still a wonderful story in its own right, full of the wonder of fables and the emotional impact that graphic novels, being the hybrids they are, can impart. If you’re far away from a dear friend or anyone else you love, this book will touch you.

4 comments on “Good-Bye, Chunky Rice

  1. Blankets was wonderful!! I cherish it greatly. I have been hunting down Good-bye Chunky Rice for a couple months now.
    Thanks for the Link to Amazon. I don't usually shop there. I usually got to Chapters.ca. They dont have it. :/

    I also see that they have the both books there for $30. I paid $40 just for blankets. hahaha Oh well. I had to have it when i saw it. And I feel no remorse for paying for it at that price.

    Maybe now I will Buy them both and pass on my Original Blankets to someone else.

  2. I usually try to support my local comic book stores. They often have books at better prices than Chapters. I got Blankets for $46 at a Chapters store and I know I could have saved $6 by going to my local comic store (I really wanted to reread it, though).

    I'm sure getting Blankets as a gift would please just about anyone, so I certainly wouldn't discourage that.

    You may want to check out Top Shelf ( http://topshelfcomix.com/ ), where you'll find other books by Mr. Thompson as well as a soundtrack to Blankets.

  3. Blankets was wonderful!! I cherish it greatly. I have been hunting down Good-bye Chunky Rice for a couple months now.
    Thanks for the Link to Amazon. I don't usually shop there. I usually got to Chapters.ca. They dont have it. :/

    I also see that they have the both books there for $30. I paid $40 just for blankets. hahaha Oh well. I had to have it when i saw it. And I feel no remorse for paying for it at that price.

    Maybe now I will Buy them both and pass on my Original Blankets to someone else.

  4. I usually try to support my local comic book stores. They often have books at better prices than Chapters. I got Blankets for $46 at a Chapters store and I know I could have saved $6 by going to my local comic store (I really wanted to reread it, though).

    I'm sure getting Blankets as a gift would please just about anyone, so I certainly wouldn't discourage that.

    You may want to check out Top Shelf ( http://topshelfcomix.com/ ), where you'll find other books by Mr. Thompson as well as a soundtrack to Blankets.

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