Tag Archives: childhood

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich 

You have a piece of bread covered in peanut butter on one side and another piece of bread covered with jelly on one side. Slap the two together and you have yourself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is the official stereotypical dietary staple of American childhood. One mention of PB&J and you automatically conjure up images of opening your lunchbox and seeing a lovingly-prepared peanut butter and jelly sandwich with the crusts cut off. It doesn’t matter if you never cut the crusts off, or had a lunchbox, or even ever actually had one because pop culture has groomed us to accept them as a part of our past. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a part of us. To deny that is to deny how the world views America. They are as American as apple pie, hot dogs, burgers, beer… that’s a lot of food… and um, oh yeah, motherfucking guns. You can’t spell ‘Murica without PB&J. You know that’s true because you’re reading it on the internet. 

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Filed under Snacks

Blankets (graphic novel)

Blankets is a 2003 graphic novel by Craig Thompson. It’s one of the most important and influential graphic novels of the last twenty years. It’s an autobiographical story about questioning faith, childhood, and first love. The story begins with Craig’s experiences with his younger brother and family in Wisconsin. His parents were devoutly religious and brought up Craig to be the same. He reads the Bible nightly and begins considering a career in the ministry as he gets older.

Craig was a bit of a loner and an outcast, misunderstood and bullied by his peers at school and at Bible camp. He eventually joins a small group of outcasts, including a free-spirited girl named Raina. Craig and Raina begin to develop feelings for each other, but their relationship is hindered by the fact that they live in different states. They keep in touch through letters, phone calls, and care packages. Raina invites Craig to come stay with her for a couple of weeks and he does.

Craig meets Raina’s family, which is a little more complicated than his to say the least. Raina’s parent’s are in the midst of a nasty divorce. She has an older sister named Julie. Julie is married and has a baby, but Raina seems to take more care of the baby than Julie does. Raina also has two adopted siblings named Ben and Laura. Ben and Laura are both mentally challenged and Raina feels responsible for them as well. Raina’s social life is also very different than Craig’s. She is actually popular and has lots of friends. She’s the life of the party while Craig feels awkward and left out.

A good portion of the story is about those two weeks he spends with Raina. He discovers more about himself. He finds love and happiness, and also learns that love and happiness don’t always last. Thompson’s story is simple and complex simultaneously. He uses flashbacks and metaphors and weaves in and out of the main narrative but tells the story chronologically. It’s like life; you’re always going forward but you can still look back and remember the things that brought you to this point.

Comic books are not always about superheroes. Real life can be a lot more interesting. Thompson’s story is deeply personal to him and it resonates onto the reader. You feel the joy of his victories and the pain of his losses. It’s easy to see why Blankets is one of the best graphic novels of all time, up there with Watchmen and Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth. It’s not just one of the best graphic novels, it’s one of the best novels period. Read it for yourself and see why.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young


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Lemonade Stand

I grew up in the suburbs in the ‘90s, back when it was still safe for kids to set up a lemonade stand outside on the street. The lemonade stand was an integral part of growing up. It was the few sources of income available. You could either mow the lawn, do random chores, or set up a lemonade stand. Lemonade stands were the best way to make cash. Mix some lemonade powder mix into a few pitchers of water and you’ll be turning a profit in no time. Lemonade stands used to be commonplace. You hardly see them anymore. Kids are too busy playing on tablets inside the house. I know I’m going to be a bitter old man because I already am one.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young


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Filed under Drinks