Translator: Ivanka Hahnenberger
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press
Pub. Date: 2013
Genres: Realistic Fiction, Graphic Novel
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Ever since I saw the review for Blue Is the Warmest Color on From Isi, I wanted to read it. Before this, I only saw the movie listed on Netflix. I checked the book out from the library and enjoyed it. In a colorless world, Clementine, a high school junior, has a family, friends, and a boyfriend she can’t reciprocate feelings for. She breaks up with him. Her gay friend takes her out to a gay bar where she meets Emma, the confident art student with blue hair. This event starts Clementine on the path of self-discovery and love. Narrated in diary entries, this graphic novel is a love story about two women in France in the ’90s.
Clementine and Emma are the feature characters of Blue Is the Warmest Color (originally Le bleu est une couleur chaude). The author of the diary, Clementine, lives in a bleak world and is never really happy. She tries to blend, but her awakening with Emma makes her world better. Emma plays an interesting role for the huge space she fills in Clementine’s life. I like that we eventually see a depressed side to her past self. I am not sure what to think of the friends and family because they’re flat characters throughout the book. I want to see more out of Valentin or one of Clementine’s parents.
I love the way that color plays a theme in the book. For the most part, blue is actually the warmest color on these pages, as you can see in the photo below. It shows Clementine’s moods, as well as Emma’s point of view. Clementine’s world is brightened and full of love when you see at least blue on the page.
Since most of this graphic novel is set in ’90s, there are references I don’t understand (partly because this is set in another country, partly the era). This is minor, but it’s something that makes me pause.
There are scenes with nudity and sex, so if it bothers you to see it in books, you will want to avoid this book. Otherwise, I recommend this graphic novel for its love story and for its theme of being yourself.