blue is the warmest color book

Blue is the Warmest Color – Graphic Novel Review and Summary

Blue is the Warmest Color by author and illustrator Jul Maroh

Spoiler Free Review

Originally published in French, this English translation of graphic novel Blue is the Warmest Color is a shining example of a realistic depiction of a complicated relationship. Many books focus on idealized romance and only give the story of the meet cute and honeymoon phase. This book goes past the passionate butterflies in the stomach period all the way to the tragic end.

Clementine is a 17 year old who becomes unsure of her sexuality after she sees an enchanting blue haired girl that she can’t get out of her head. This girl, Emma, will become the most important person that she ever meets.

Clementine struggles with labeling herself a lesbian because she’s been taught her whole life that it’s wrong. She’s afraid of how her family, friends, and society would react to this news. She’s afraid of herself and what she’s becoming. All she knows is that this girl Emma is who she wants to spend time with.

Emma has a girlfriend that she refuses to let go of but that doesn’t stop her from returning Clementine’s infatuation. They stalk each other back and forth, they fight and flee over and over again but they always find their way back to each other. It’s the kind of relationship that tears up your insides but the chemistry is so strong that you couldn’t stop it if you tried.

The universe wants them together. They help each other discover who they are, how to be better, where their rock bottoms are, and how to grow into adults. They’re both abusive and hurt each other, they both love and care for each other. Their relationship is complicated but relatable, above all it’s real.

Love is extremely messy. Especially when we’re young and stupid. Sometimes we distance ourselves from the people we’re with in youth and sometimes we grow together and stay side by side. Emma and Clementine return to each other until the very end.

You may already know that Blue is the Warmest Color has a sad ending. You may also already know that it’s sexually explicit. The film adaptation gained quite a reputation for a very graphic love scene between the two women. I saw the movie years ago. It’s beautiful and brilliant but almost too intimate. I felt like an intruder watching these girls as they fought and made up and physically healed their wounds with each others’ bodies.

There is casual nudity in the graphic novel that is true to how people often are behind closed doors. It serves to demonstrate vulnerability and how we bare ourselves to the people we trust. Although some people consider this book and movie to be pornographic, I would disagree. Sex is something that happens in many romantic relationships, it’s just part of the story.

Lesbian romances are often fetishized but author Maroh takes away the objectification by making the characters overtly human. There is no mistaking the emotions that go into love making that make it more than porn, these characters feel everything for each other. It’s more than love, it’s hate, fear, resentment, trust, care, friendship, dependence, all the good and bad taken together as a whole, including attraction and arousal.

Blue is the Warmest Color is a romance, a coming out story, a coming of age story, a tragedy, and the story of full lives lived with someone you could never do without. It’s love and everything that comes with it.

5/5 blues 🔵🔵🔵🔵🔵

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it's sad to fall in love with someone who's the same sex, Blue is the Warmest Color
it’s bad to fall in love with someone who’s the same sex, Blue is the Warmest Color

Blue is the Warmest Color Summary

In the briefest synopsis Blue is the Warmest Color is the story of two young women who fall in love and then one of them dies far too soon. If you’re a fan of sick kids in love books but are ready to graduate to something a little more adult, this graphic novel will be perfect for you.

It opens with a letter from Clementine to Emma saying that she is leaving her her diaries now that she is gone. It’s easily assumed that she has passed away but we’ll get the story of what happened leading up to these events before we see how she died.

Through this present timeline we’ll see Emma with Clementine’s parents at her funeral. They still do not accept her or that she was a very important person to their daughter.

In the diary she describes going to meet a boy, Thomas, but on the way she spots a girl with blue hair. This blue haired girl captures her attention and her young mind has no idea what it means.

In this past timeline told through the diary we see Clementine having a sex dream about the blue haired girl (Emma, of course). She’s been raised to believe that homosexuality is unnatural and has been trying to be straight so this dream is shocking and upsetting, but quite arousing.

After 6 months of dating Thomas she still can’t bring herself to have sex with him. She abandons him one night afraid to be touched any further by his male hands.

Later, a girl friend playfully kisses her and it ignites something she’s never felt before. The next day the girl says it was just a joke and breaks her heart. Her first kiss that made her feel anything at all was just a larf. She’s overwhelmed by her confusion and teenaged emotions.

A male friend of hers tells her he’s gay and takes her to a gay bar to get exposed to the culture. She’s still underaged so she feels doubly uncomfortable being there until she sees that blue haired girl. The blue haired girl, who we now officially know as Emma, buys Clementine a drink.

They’re having a nice moment until Emma’s girlfriend drags her away. Despite the brevity of their interaction they both seem to feel a draw towards each other. Emma tracks down Clementine at her school to pick up where they left off. Clementine gives Emma her phone number but Emma is unable to reciprocate before they get pulled apart again. (Keep in mind, this takes place before cell phones and social media).

Clementine’s gay friend outs her at school. This huge betrayal gets her bullied and threatened. Emma finally calls Clementine at home but she’s too upset to enjoy it. She hangs up on her fearing that her bad mood will ruin everything they could have together.

Clementine realizes that she has no way to call her back or contact her to apologize so she stalks her back. They find each other once again and start seeing each other for real. Unfortunately, even after building their relationship emotionally and physically (slowly) Clementine still cannot accept her sexuality and is unwilling to commit. It’s the 90s, everything tells her she’s either a sinner or a degenerate.

One day, Emma gets fed up and storms out declaring that Clementine will eventually end up with a man so why even bother. Although she tried to push her away their cosmic pull won’t let them stay apart.

Clementine returns and they finally take their physical relationship all the way. They make love and it’s beautiful but it doesn’t solve any of their problems. Emma is still seeing that original girl friend and Clementine still can’t call herself a lesbian.

Yet they still come back to each other. There are relationships in life that make us truly believe in human chemistry. Regardless of if they are healthy or not some people just cannot stop finding each other. They hang out and sleep together for months without labeling it or each other. Finally, Clementine gets frustrated that Emma still hasn’t broken up with her girlfriend.

Emma breaks up with her girlfriend
Emma breaks up with her girlfriend

After fighting numerous times Emma finally breaks up with the girlfriend but Clementine leaves, it’s too little too late. A month later they return, once again, to each other’s arms. Emma declares her love for Clementine and they intend to spend the night together. Clementine, still underage and living at home with her parents, neglects to be cautious and the parents catch Emma half naked under their roof. The parents kick them both out of the house.

Clementine has no choice but to move in with Emma. Here Blue is the Warmest Color jumps forward in time. After being thrown out at 17, Clementine is now 30 and they’ve been living together the whole time.

We can assume that there have been many ups and downs during this period but we arrive at a big down. Emma is kicking Clementine out for presumably cheating on her with a man.

As always, they return to each other. They are about to have make up sex when Clementine’s heart gives out. They rush her to the hospital but the doctors refuse to talk to Emma since a girlfriend is not considered close or family.

During her last few days of life she is unable to speak. She finishes her thoughts and goodbyes in her diary so that Emma can read them after she’s gone. She ends with saying that love is always worth it, it always sets you free.

Even though society and family never accepted their relationship they always knew how strong and important it was. All love, even temporary love, is always worth it.

Blue is the Warmest Color FAQ

Where can I watch Blue is the Warmest Color?

The movies is currently available for free on Tubi or on AMC+ or Youtube with subscription plans

Is Blue is the Warmest Color a true story?

The graphic novel and subsequent film adaptation are fictional

Why is Blue is the Warmest Color controversial?

The book and the movie are both about a lesbian romance and are therefore defaulted to controversial in some opinions. LGBTQ bigotry aside both feature graphic sex scenes that have been considered pornographic by some viewers.

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