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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too good for words.A must see.
This is the first work I have seen by Posy Simmonds, and for sure not the last.I work as a comic artist myself and it it so rare that anything comes out with such a caliber of quality in both art and writing. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.It is a tour-de-force of comic storytelling.I thank an article with this book recommendation from Hilary Spurling. WE...
Published on 25 April 2000

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not as good as Tamara Drewe
Narrated by Raymond Joubert, baker in the little Normandy village of Bailleville, this is the story of Gemma Bovery, her affairs, Joubert's obsession with her and the parallels between her life and that of Flaubert's eponymous Madame Bouvery. An acute observation of the gulf between what we think we want and what actually makes us happy and brilliantly illustrated.
Published on 16 Oct 2010 by Jo Bennie


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too good for words.A must see., 25 April 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Gemma Bovery (Hardcover)
This is the first work I have seen by Posy Simmonds, and for sure not the last.I work as a comic artist myself and it it so rare that anything comes out with such a caliber of quality in both art and writing. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.It is a tour-de-force of comic storytelling.I thank an article with this book recommendation from Hilary Spurling. WE WANT MORE.Pleeeease...Teddy H.Kristiansen
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When is a comic not a comic?, 4 Oct 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Gemma Bovery (Hardcover)
Following hot on the heels of Ethel and Ernest by Raymond Briggs is another graphic novel that the mainstream literature critics will insist is not a comic book even though it so obviously is. Gemma Bovery is yet more proof that comics are an artform capable of the same levels of personal expression as any other medium like prose, film, poetry et al. Of course, this fact will be either ignored or treated with downright contempt and ridicule by most reviewers who will claim that Gemma Bovery is something more than a comic strip, and continue to make snide cracks about the French pretense that comics are an art.
Nevertheless, Gemma Bovery is a fine example of the heights that comics can achieve, and I congratulate Ms. Simmonds on a wonderfully rewarding and compelling book.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Down to a T, 23 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Gemma Bovery (Paperback)
Posy Simmonds has taken the graphic novel into new territory. Brilliant narrative, outstanding illustrations. And she has people down to a T. Especially French people. Especially French women. Anyone who's ever lived in France will recognise people they've met and shiver at the memory. The beauty of this book is that in addition to the characters' words, the author is also able to show us how they look, and she does it with an accuracy that can only come from hours of observation. The attention to detail in the drawings is such that it's worth going back to the book time and time again. I wish I could meet Joubert and have him ask me what I like and dislike about France. As long as his wife wasn't hovering.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not as good as Tamara Drewe, 16 Oct 2010
By 
Jo Bennie (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Gemma Bovery (Paperback)
Narrated by Raymond Joubert, baker in the little Normandy village of Bailleville, this is the story of Gemma Bovery, her affairs, Joubert's obsession with her and the parallels between her life and that of Flaubert's eponymous Madame Bouvery. An acute observation of the gulf between what we think we want and what actually makes us happy and brilliantly illustrated.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Review, 21 Sep 2008
By 
Jamie Beckwith (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gemma Bovery (Paperback)
I've not read Flaubert so I'm not qualified to judge how good this works as a modern day retelling. Nonetheless on its own merit it's a pretty good story.

Part text, part graphic novel, it tells the tragic story of Gemma Bovery, a British woman who moves to France with her new husband seeking to escape her past. The story is narrated by her French neighbour who is at first amused by the coincidence in the name but then starts to worry as her life begins to mirror that of Flaubert's heroine and rushes headlong towards the grisly end. He becomes almost something of a benign stalker and obssessed with the novel sends her photocopies pages as warnings.

The layout of the book is interesting, comic book frames nestled in prose. As the story is told in flashback there is much use of irony as we know Gemma's fate from the very beginning and can laugh as the narrator recalls his own actions. The art is simple but effective, in particular there's a lot of focus on characters eyes which sometimes betray an emotion at odds with the look plastered on their face.

I enjoyed it enough that I have now subsequently bought Madam Bovary and it's towards the top of my Next To Read Pile
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So Charming!, 9 April 2012
This review is from: Gemma Bovery (Paperback)
Posy Simmonds is seriously underrated. I may be wrong on this but I rarely ever see her graphic novels in those lists of the ones you 'must read', and if they are included they are never near the top. But she is brilliant and unique and 'Gemma Bovery' was like a breath of fresh air among all the dark lines and capital letters of the more renowned (usually male written) graphic novels. Instead, we get beautiful, sumptuous pencil drawings that, at times, make Gemma look a little like the Corpse Bride; all huge eyes and tons of expression. I loved that. I just felt there was so much depth to the drawings and they are really wonderful pieces of art.

Another thing to love about this graphic novel is the mixture of lettering and fonts throughout. It's not confusing or illegible and it is clear that real time and thought has gone into the layout; not just your boring panel to panel layout. It really makes reading interesting when it is inter-cut with the diary entries and newspaper cut outs and little bits like that. Also, the book itself is tall and long which really works well with the layout as sections can fit onto one page. I like details like that; it shows care and a dedication by the author to make the reading experience as good as possible.

I also really liked Gemma's character. Her diary entries are funny and honest and her behaviour, although quite selfish, doesn't make you hate her. She just seems like a bored, middle-class woman who is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Boring husband, boring house, boring life, boring neighbours. The desperation and panic of feeling as though you can't escape. Everyone can relate. She gets an idealistic idea into her head, goes crazy for it for a little while, and then drops it and despises it. I like that about her; it is very human.

Charlie is pathetic and the dynamic between him and his ex wife is almost painful because it is so relateable. The bored, lonely, exhausted divorced mother of two dissatisfied by her stagnant and mediocre ex so makes him pay through endless nagging and is never, ever satisfied even though he seems to be doing better than your average dad abroad. Ugh it must happen so often and that is so depressing.

I hate the character narrating the tale though- Raymond Joubert. He is sinister and, I found, quite sexually threatening. He's always staring at Gemma and making her life uncomfortable even though it is really none of his business. He annoyed me.

I also found myself wondering at the end...is this a feminist story of the destruction of a woman by men? I don't want to say too much or give it away but Gemma is constantly under the control of men and their passions and it seems she can never be happy alone. I will give that some thought I think.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Actually a lot more fun than Flaubert..., 24 July 2010
By 
Jason Mills "jason10801" (Accrington, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gemma Bovery (Paperback)
This is a graphic novel, I suppose, although it mixes text and (b/w) pictures freely rather than in a frame-by-frame layout. Our eponymous heroine is a mildly screwed-up young woman bouncing between relationships. Most of the story takes place in a small French town where she lives with her unexciting husband. Her neighbour, Joubert the baker, becomes obsessed with her and with the parallels between her life and that of Madame Bovary, and we see most of the action through his snooping eyes.

It's smart and funny, cunningly plotted, acutely nailing human behaviour but responding with warm generosity. The artwork is unfussy but confident and expressive (Gemma's eyes are startlingly informative!) and the relaxed intermingling of text, diaries, comic format and visual devices is pleasing throughout. Posy Simmonds is an author I'll be happy to revisit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 23 July 2006
By 
This review is from: Gemma Bovery (Paperback)
Well-observed, well-drawn, well-written. I have not read many graphic novels, but this one is fantastic.

I was introduced to Posy Simmonds by the serialisation of Tamara Drew in the Guardian. Tamara Drew is also a compelling tale.

Joubert is a little too creepy for my tastes, but Gemma and Charlie just seem so real. A great read, highly recommended.

(F, 31)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elegant and witty, 13 Dec 1999
This review is from: Gemma Bovery (Hardcover)
Even if you have not read Flaubert, you will enjoy this updating of his masterpiece, with its contemporary slant on Anglo-French relationships. The parallels with the original are sly and witty, the draughtsmanship impeccable, and the characters surprisingly engaging. This is an obligatory read for anyone owning a second home in France, and equally highly recommended to anyone with a sense of fun, irony and style. In its way, like "Madame Bovary", a masterpiece.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliance, 28 Nov 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Gemma Bovery (Hardcover)
Gemma Bovery by Posy Simmonds is a most funny, remarkable and tragic book. Gemma's life brilliantly resounds of Flaubert's Emma, told by the village baker (Raymond Joubert, by the way) in a flash-back. The combination between the expressive drawings, the English text and the French hints, make you really rush through the book. Makes you wonder what the real Flaubert book is like and whether Posy Simmonds has other books of the brilliance.
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Gemma Bovery
Gemma Bovery by Posy Simmonds (Hardcover - 16 Sep 1999)
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