Monday, 4 August 2014

Review: Blue is the Warmest Colour by Julie Maroh

Title: Blue is the Warmest Colour/Bleu est une couleur chaude/Blue Angel
Author: Julie Maroh
Cover Artist: Julie Maroh
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press
Release Date: 2010 in France, 2013 in England
Genre: LGBT Graphic Novel
Page Count: 160
Original Language: French
Format Read: Paperback
Other books in series: N/A
Movie Adaptation: Blue is the Warmest Colour, adapted by Abdelatif Kechiche, 2013

Where you can buy it: Amazon, The Book Depository, Waterstones, Ebay, Barnes and Noble

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I bought this book with two other graphic novels at the beginning of the year, and I just couldn't wait to read it. I had heard many great things about it and the movie, and so I was really excited. This graphic novel contains a lot of explicit sex scenes, so if you are under 17 or don't like that sort of thing, I wouldn't recommend it. However, considering I am one of those people who 'don't like that sort of thing' I found it absolutely fine to quickly skip over the more explicit bits and still completely understand the story.


Clementine is a junior in high school who seems "normal" enough: she has friends, family, and even a boyfriend. But she can't reciprocate his feelings toward her, so she breaks up with him. When her openly gay best friend takes her to a gay bar, she becomes captivated by Emma, a punkish, confident girl with blue hair, an event that leads Clementine to discover new aspects of herself, both passionate and tragic. 

Blue is the Warmest Colour is a tender, bittersweet, full-colour graphic novel about the elusive, reckless magic of love: a lesbian love story for the ages that bristles with the energy of youth, rebellion, and the eternal light of desire.

First Page:

*This review doesn't contain any spoilers, as it doesn't assume you have read the book*

I suppose I better tell you the story of how I can across this particular book. I was in an independent cinema last November watching the 50th anniversary edition of Doctor Who, and since I study French in school I was conscious of the poster for Blue is the Warmest Colour on the wall. It looked really enticing (here is the poster to prove it):

So anyway, when I came out of the cinema I decided to find out a bit more about the film and since it was in French it could help me with my speaking skills for my exam, so I went on a website explaining it and it turns out it is an 18+, but by that time I was so captured by the storyline I knew I had to see it in some form. When I found the graphic novel I was so happy, and ordered it pretty much straight away, not realising the novel was also pretty explicit. But by that time I already had it, and I didn't mind because I loved the story so much it wasn't exactly the end of the world. Let's just say buying an explicit graphic novel is the most rebellious thing I've ever done, and it sits happily on my bookshelf with the rest of books, like part of the family. 

But I'm 17 so I wouldn't recommend anybody any younger than that buying it, especially since its a graphic novel. One of my friends has watched the three hour long movie and says I have to watch it because its really good, so when I'm 18 (in about 6 months time) I shall have to give it a go. 

The cover itself is really beautiful, and I especially love that the whole novel is in colour and centered around the colour blue. It is by far the most beautiful graphic novel I own, and the connotations of the colour deepen the storyline. You can feel and see the calmness, youth and depression in every page. The characters of Emma and Clementine are so beautifully thought out, and you can believe the story as it is told to you. Clementine experiences homophobia within her family whilst Emma's mother just wants her to be happy, and so you have the clashing of cultures there. 

The sex scenes really didn't bother me in enjoying the book. I'm not really a big fan of explicit stuff so I was able to just read the words on the more explicit pages and skip over the pictures. They do add to the realistic feel of the novel though, so if you're different to me please go ahead and look at it all. Its not distasteful, but everyone has their limits to sexual themes, and I tend to draw the line quite the bit earlier than many others.

The book left me filling up with tears at the end and I couldn't put it down. I absolutely devoured it in one sitting - it took me about an hour or so to read it, maybe less. It doesn't take much time to read but it is so worth it, so if you are wondering whether you have time to read a graphic novel, please give this one a read. It is so worth that hour. 

The story takes over you, controls you, and then just leaves you for dead on the last page. No book has ever really given me that feeling before and so it is particularly special to me. The daily struggle of the LGBT community becomes real to those who do not have to go through it when you read this book. 

It stunned me. It is a stunning graphic novel. And for that reason I gave it 5/5 cups of British tea.

About the author:
Julie Maroh is a French graphic novel writer, who originates from Northern France. After having obtained an applied arts baccalaur√©at at E.S.A.A.T in Roubaix, Julie Maroh continued her studies in Brussels. She now lives in Angoul√™me.She started writing Blue is the Warmest Color when she was 19 and it took her five years to complete it.

Where to find Julie Maroh: Website

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