I had seen the movie before I bought this graphic novel and, honestly, I was bored. I love French cinema, I think international films are important to experience, and I know this movie got big honors at Cannes. But I thought it was dull, even with those “sensational” 10-minute long sex scenes that all of the reviewers talked about. Simulated lesbian sex doesn’t make a movie good, though plenty of critics implied otherwise. Anyway, despite being let down by a movie I thought would be interesting, I still had faith that it would be an interesting book. As we all know, books are quite often better than their film adaptations, so what was to stop me from trying to see this story in a stronger medium?
Regrettably, I discovered that I had wasted my money on a story that STILL wasn’t interesting, even in its original form. Better than the movie (literally anything could be), but still not very good. I just didn’t like the characters very much and it was hard for me to empathize with them, even when they were going through hell and back. I also thought the ending was terribly cliché as it ended up like so many other unremarkable romantic tragedies: someone dies and their death is inspires their grieving partner to hashtag YOLO. Cry all you want at the doomed lovers’ tragedy, I’m just saying that it’s a really boring message to leave a reader with.
I do give La Vie d’Adèle a lot of credit for giving me some more insight into what it can be like to discover one’s own homosexuality. I think it’s important to bear witness to stories in which sexuality is explored at length, and the best example I can think of is the musical Spring Awakening, which is about all different kinds of sexual orientations, experiences, and practices. But while I believe art about sexuality is important, I do not believe it automatically makes art praiseworthy, which goes back to how critics of the movie only talked about the sex scenes. In the case of the book, I just don’t believe that the story, no matter how provocative, was strong enough to merit a movie adaptation, let alone positive reviews. This is one of those reviews where I know people will disagree (which is great, because I’m sure a book about a young lesbian would be really relatable to others), but I’m not going to engage with people who try to start heated debates about it because to me, the book isn’t worthy of such discussions. I simply didn’t like it, and hopefully even the bookworm-trolls who stalk literature blogs can accept my opinion.