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Betty Blue

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,895 ratings  ·  97 reviews
This is a full-fledged lovers' tragedy between a drifter-turned-writer and the fatally flawed Betty, his muse and obsessive promoter.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published December 1st 1998 by Little, Brown Book Group (first published 1985)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,895 ratings  ·  97 reviews

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Dan Holloway
Aug 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I went to university in 1989, so of course, like pretty everyone my age, I had a Betty Blue poster on my wall (along with The Big Blue and Blue Velvet and The Queen is Dead). And like most of my year, I fell in love with the film at one of the late night showings at Oxford's Phoenix Cinema.

It wasn't until 20 years later that I finally read the book. It is so so different - the film has an epic sweep, all massive skies, moody saxophone and impossibly gorgeous colours as befits the Cinema du Look.
MJ Nicholls
Betty Blue is venerated on campuses for its anti-establishment, free-spirited, all-you-need-is-love-provided-the-bitch-is-hot stance: the film is a hotbed of classic French passion and anarchic comedy. The novel however, is more in your Bukowski-Miller vein, with its likeable tossbag narrator and occasional moments of hideous self-aggrandisement.

Béatrice Dalle was about twenty in the film: in the book Betty is thirty. So this is not a story about young love that can’t be contained in a series of
Jan 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Its original French title is 37°2 le matin, which means "37.2°C in the Morning". (37.2°C [99°F] is the normal morning temperature of a pregnant woman.)
Nov 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is the third time I've read this book. Each time I reach the end I cry. In spite of the fact that the plot often veers into the realm of the absurd and the narrator can be cloyingly self congratulatory, the language is by turns hysterically funny and breathtakingly lovely. I don't often praise love stories (though I do often enjoy books about writers), but the sense of passion and amour-fou Djian conjures up is impossible not to get caught up in. If you don't read the book, I suggest you re ...more
Jan 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite stories and films. The movie is in my top 5, and the book is at least in the top 25. Wonderfu style, difficult but fascinating characters. It's been hailed as both pro and anti-feminist. A feat that, if achieved in any book/film/etc. makes me like it that much more. It's a great read and hard not to come away from, without some kind of strong opinion one way or the other.
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a book about a man driving a woman crazy because he is reluctant at communication.
If you REALLY love someone you would talk about some "crazy/antisocial" behaviours. Love and/or relationships are not just about having sex and eating and drinking and going for a walk. You gotta be receptive of your partner.
These would be my advice to the protagonist. Other than that, this book is goooood. Has very smart lines and a little wisdom and easy read. I love my friend who gifted this book to me
Mar 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Despite the melancholy and many tints of "blue" in this novel, I could not help but see it as a fairytale. What a carefree life! What bohemian ease! How the main character can easily overcome money problems, escape criminal charges, cruise along life like nothing serious ever happened... It is a fantasy, so in the end, I wanted to have a friend who would let me stay in his house in a small town close to the beach for free, sell his pianos and pocket the money. Why don't I have such friends? Why ...more
May 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As much as I would like to open my "read" shelf and start reviewing books one by one so I could perhaps one day look at those texts and laugh at how much time I had to waste in my younger days, I don't think I'm going to. I don't have THAT much time. I do, however, feel a need to briefly express my love for this novel since: a) it doesn't seem to be all that well-known (measly 500 ratings here), and b) it's among my favorite books ever. Unfortunately I don't have much more to contribute than jus ...more
Gerry Pelser
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow, wow, wow. A work known - both in print and movie - for its explicit sex scenes, is so much more than mere sex. This is the most beautiful love story I've ever come across. It is deep, it is depressing, it is heart wrenching, and it is simply divine. makes my best-books-ever list any day of the week.
Jul 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-favorites
This is absolutely my favorite movie, and one of my favorite books. I love the passion and the nonchalant flow of the writer-narrator. The emotion this book elicits in me would be a connection to youthful lasciviousness.
May 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: najdraze
beautiful. rough. anxious. sad. happy. lively. but beautiful, above all.
out of my expectation.
recommendation to everyone.
amazing, live characters of flesh and blood.
beautiful quotes, scenes, feelings, dialogues, narration.
unperfectness written in a perfect way.
Feb 26, 2013 rated it liked it
One of those rare cases of the film being better than the book.
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading this book. The film ranks up there in my all-time favourites, so I was curious to see how close they had stuck to the text of the book and also what they had omitted or changed. The film remained remarkably faithful to the book, not too much was cut, and the filmmakers did a good job casting. If you know the film well the book does not supply many surprises, although there are several scenes that add to the love story at its centre. But it was nice reading the story, and in some ...more
Laura Alderson
Mar 22, 2020 rated it liked it
A rare example of when a film adaptation improves on the original book. I loved the film of a doomed love affair and a woman's descent into madness. All the key scenes from the film are taken directly from the book, but there is a lot of superfluous narrative as well which I felt detracted from the main plot. I also thought the translation was poor in places, sounding very American; you would barely know this was a French novel.
Clare Walker
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: france
That feeling when you underestimate a book and it turns out to be amazing. Hated it for the first few pages - hated Betty, hated that every other sentence was ‘women this, women that.’ Kept going anyway because I was intrigued by all the reviews people had left here. So thank you Goodreads, yet again. Loved this.
Joanne McGirr
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow ... just finished this. Gone into it without seeing the movie . I absolutely loved it , I had no clue how the story would develop. Tragic love story with so many twists and turns. Really , really enjoyed the book.
David Peach
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is my all time favourite book. I have read it and re-read it loads of times. I'm even nerdy enough to have underlined my fave sections and sentences too.

The film is a brilliant adaptation of the novel too. This is what a real life love story would be like (in my mind anyway).
Vera Kirk
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe this book only deserves 3,5 stars. It's not that I didn't like it, but I didn't have a problem abandoning it for months before I finished it. It's not that it isn't a good book, it is and it tells a fascinating story that you haven't heard a thousand times before.
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
easy to read but the main characters are nut cases and i didnt really like them so not that bothered whether they lived or died.
Angela Holtz
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Phenomenal ride! I can't remember when I read such an exciting tale. There is a lot packed in this book, but it's a love story at its heart.
Jan 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Perhaps a version more about Betty would be more interesting.
Sultan Can Boz
Turkish translation should not be the one to be read. Quite demotivating
kübra köse
My other name, Betty Blue.
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Sad. Best thing I’ve read in ages.
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There comes a moment when the silence between two people can have the purity of a diamond.
Stephen James Moore
Jun 18, 2019 rated it liked it
[NOTE: I have corrected this review, on 7/21, adding a more accurate explanation of the meaning of the title, and removing my original - and false - explanation. I originally wrote that "37º2 in the Morning" refers to the body temperature of a pregnant woman. Not so.]

This is the second time I have read Djian's 1985 French best-seller (the title translates literally as "37 degrees centigrade at 2 in the morning"*), though it is the only book by Djian I have read. It is the source for the 1986 fil
Jen Crichton
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary
I read this book (translated from French) after I saw the movie and it is brilliant. Its about a very passionate but ultimately doomed relationship which is both beautiful and heart wrenching.
Jun 05, 2009 rated it liked it
This was a VERY intense book. As I read it, I wasn't even sure I liked it. I didn't care for the author's writing style and the main characters annoyed me. But ultimately I did end up liking it...and I can't even explain why. The author was successful in sucking you into the story and keeping you reading. I knew a tragedy was going to occur (it said on the back of the book) and of course I had to find out what it was. You could tell the two main characters--Betty and the unnamed narrator--were h ...more
Aug 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is one of the few books which reduced me to tears.

I saw the movie more than twenty years ago and was impressed. As far as I can recall, the movie must have stuck pretty close to the book because I kept getting memories as I was reading. In terms of the prose, it's pretty basic, and often the everyday lives of the two characters are mundane. Yet, at its intrinsic heart, the trauma of loving someone who is mentally disturbed builds and builds to a crescendo which is as unexpected as it is exp
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Philippe Djian (born 1949 in Paris) is a popular French author of Armenian descent.
Djian graduated from the ESJ Paris. After a period of wandering and odd jobs, he published a volume of short stories, 50 contre 1 (1981), and then the novels Bleu comme l'enfer (1982) and Zone érogène (1984) before gaining fame with his subsequent novels 37°2 le matin (1985) which was filmed by Jean-Jacques Beineix

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“There comes a moment when the silence between two people can have the purity of a diamond.” 20 likes
“I turned my back to her. I felt a slight burning on the back of my neck.

“Listen to me,” I went on. “I never was much for fucking around, I never got much out of it. I know that everybody else does it; but it’s no fun if you just do like everybody else. To tell you the truth, it bores me, It does you good to live according to your ideas, to not betray yourself, not cop out at the last minute just because some girl has a nice ass, or someone offers you a huge check, or because the path of least resistance runs by your front door. It does you good to hang tough. It’s good for the soul.”

I turned around to tell her the Big Secret; “Over Dispersal, I choose Concentration. I have one life—the only thing I’m interested in is making it shine.”
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