Goosebumps formed on my skin the moment I began reading Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh. Aesthetically pleasing and beautifully written, Maroh immediately captured my attention and my heart. The story begins with Emma reading diary entries written by her love, Clementine. Although Clementine has passed, her memories are very much alive. Clementine was 16 years old when her life had changed. On one particular day, headed to a date with a boy from school, she caught sight of a young woman with blue hair. This image remained vivid in her mind for many days to come.
Clementine’s heart raced every time she saw something blue, with anxious hope she might see this woman again. Never having experienced such strong feelings for women, Clementine did not know what was happening to her. As a result, she struggled with accepting herself for a considerable time. Her parents referred to homosexuality as wrong which likely contributed to Clementine’s conflicted view of herself. Suppressing one’s true nature does not make the situation go away; quite often denial leads to negative feelings and further upset. This story is relatable to anyone who has had a difficult time coming to terms with who they are –unfortunately, we live in a society that is very heteronormative and many parents are not appreciative of their children expressing non-heterosexual tendencies. Even more so, fellow students are not always open to diverse sexual identities, especially in middle and high school settings. Friends Clementine thought she could count on did not want to associate with her anymore once they had suspicion she was a lesbian.
As Clementine felt more comfortable with her newfound self, her life became full of color. Her path crossed with the mysterious woman with blue hair and she became excited about the world again. As it turns out, Emma would play a very significant role in Clementine’s life. As the title so mentions, blue really does become the warmest color for Clementine. It is amazing how we as readers can feel such empathy in response to Clementine’s feelings –almost as if we were a part of the story, experiencing love for the first time with her. Blue is the Warmest Color is a must-have for any personal library as the graphic novel can easily be appreciated in one sitting and feel just as moving each time it is read.
I watched Blue is the Warmest Color a few months ago, very excited that a foreign lesbian-protagonist centered film hit mainstream media. After finishing the movie, I discovered that the story was inspired by the graphic novel, which was originally printed in 2010 in French. Thrilled that Maroh has since published an English version of Blue is the Warmest Color; I had made it my mission to find the book. Kept by my bedside for convenient reading, Blue is the Warmest Color has become my favorite graphic novel.