Blue is the Warmest Color is a graphic novel about growing up, falling in love, and coming out. Clementine is a junior in high school who seems average enough: she has friends, family, and the romantic attention of the boys in her school. When her openly gay best friend takes her out on the town, she wanders into a lesbian bar where she encounters Emma: a punkish, confident girl with blue hair. Their attraction is instant and electric, and Clementine find herself in a relationship that will test her friends, parents, and her own ideas about herself and her identity.
I’m going to start this out by saying I was not prepared for this graphic novel. Not because of the content, or even the few, brief adult moments depicted inside. No, what I wasn’t prepared for were all the tears that I eventually shed throughout it.
When Clementine turns 14, her grandmother gives her a diary. Determined to stick with it, she chronicles her life from her first boyfriend through the biggest revelations of her life.
Clementine’s journey to find her true self is one that I think a lot of young people are experiencing these days. The fear that there’s something wrong with you. Worry about what other people might think. The things that keep so many people living in denial because society isn’t anywhere near as tolerant as it could – as it should – be. Eventually, she finds her truth and lives her life the way she was intended, even if her road was a rough one.
Her friend Valentin is probably the only one who understands who she is and what she’s going through. It’s made obvious that her parents don’t get it and neither do her school friends. However, I’ve learned the hard way that sometimes, all you need is one good, honest friend to get you through all that life throws at you. Valentin is that for Clem.
Emma is… a lot. I liked her in the beginning, started to really dislike her in the middle, and by the end, well, she did the right thing in the end, I suppose. Although, I can’t judge her too harshly because I think she had demons of her own that she was fighting that kept her from committing fully in the beginning.
The story was well written and heart-wrenching, and the artwork was amazing. Subtle and muted, it really added to the emotional depth of Clementine’s story. I will warn you though, there are a few graphic sex scenes depicted within. However, I thought they were tastefully done and nowhere near pornographic.
Although this led me to having a good cry at my desk at work this morning (lucky me, I’m still in the office!), it was very much worth the read. So, don’t be an idiot like me and think that you can read and file at the same time. You’d think I’d have learned that by now. James Patterson’s Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas nearly ended me. And, of course, I was reading it at my desk, at work, and cried so hard, my boss freaked out. Again, totally worth it.