Book Review: Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh

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Title: Blue is the Warmest Color

Author: Julie Maroh (translated by Ivanka Hahnenberger)

Genre: Fiction, Graphic Novel, Romance, LGTBQ

‘And little by little, I understood that there were many types of love. We do not choose the one we fall in love with, and our perception of happiness is our own and is determined by what we experience…’

INFO | Goodreads

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Review

I am pretty much traumatised after reading this book.  It piqued my interest after seeing Cat’s review, so I ordered it from the library and read it in an hour or so (though The Geek Undergraduate did manage to read it in a record-breaking twenty minutes).

It is a beautiful and tragic story, told mostly through the diaries of Clementine, who we learn in the first few pages has recently died.  Some narrative, mostly commenting on the diary, is from the thoughts of Emma, Clementine’s girlfriend.

Beginning the story with the death of the protagonist is immensely powerful. I think this is enhanced even more by the fact that death by suicide is hinted at, with the mention of a note and the anger of Clementine’s father towards Emma. The story then skips back in time to Clementine’s teenage years, and her (and her friend’s/family’s) struggle to accept her sexuality.

Maybe this is eternal love, this mixture of peace and fire.

The illustrations are detailed and realistic, though for much of the story the colours are quite bland, except for the bright blue of Emma’s hair.  Rather than a criticism, I thought this was an effective stylistic choice, and when the colour is eventually washed out if her hair, it fills the rest of the panels instead.  I took several possible interpretations from this.  I saw it as Emma making sacrifices for Clem, but also as a foreshadowing of the bad things to come.  It was almost like the blue in Emma’s hair was giving life to Clem – blue is the warmest colour after all.

After reading, I also discovered the book has been adapted into a film.  I wasn’t 100% convinced by the trailer, but I’d still love to get my hands on it!  Has anyone seen the film?  If so, do you recommend it?

Star Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5/5)

Emma

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9 Comments

  • Reply Cat, the cat lady

    ah I’m so glad I made you want to read this :3 and I’m even more glad that you liked it!! it’s absolutely beautiful.
    regarding the movie, it’s a bit different from the book (specially the ending) but I really liked it either way 😀

    September 3, 2015 at 7:08 pm
    • Reply Emma @ Wandering Words

      Yep, it is your fault I was crying on Sunday evening (literally from the first few pages!) I’ll see if I can track down the film to watch then (cue more tears, I suppose), I just hope they stay true to the book and make the ending appropriately heartbreaking 🙂

      September 3, 2015 at 7:17 pm
      • Reply Cat, the cat lady

        I feel like I may apologize but I won’t because it’s one hell of a book 😀 I watched it before reading the book and you bet I cried! I hope you enjoy it <3

        September 3, 2015 at 11:45 pm
  • Reply August Round-Up | Wandering Words

    […] Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh (review here) […]

    October 29, 2015 at 10:15 pm
  • Reply Book Tag: Eleven Bookish Questions | Wandering Words

    […] For my degree I had to study a number of translated books, including Candide by Voltaire (originally written in French).  I’ve also recently read a few translated books, including Hector and the Search for Happiness and Blue is the Warmest Color (review here). […]

    November 21, 2015 at 7:33 am
  • Reply Keep It Fresh Award | Wandering Words

    […] end of this book make me cry, and probably bits in the middle too.  A wonderful book (review found here), but it certainly left me feeling […]

    December 12, 2015 at 6:07 pm
  • Reply Keep It Fresh Award - Wandering Words

    […] end of this book make me cry, and probably bits in the middle too.  A wonderful book (review found here), but it certainly left me feeling […]

    May 17, 2016 at 5:39 am
  • Reply August Round-Up - Wandering Words

    […] Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh (review here) […]

    June 15, 2016 at 1:44 pm
  • Reply Book Tag: Eleven Bookish Questions - Wandering Words

    […] For my degree I had to study a number of translated books, including Candide by Voltaire (originally written in French).  I’ve also recently read a few translated books, including Hector and the Search for Happiness and Blue is the Warmest Color (review here). […]

    July 11, 2016 at 9:59 pm
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