346. Betty Blues by Renaud Dillies

Betty Blues by Renaud Dillies. Translated by Joe Johnson

Rating: (5/5)

(US) - (Canada) - (UK)

2003, Nov 1 2013, NBM, 80 pgs 

Age: (18+)

"Little Rice Duck has built himself quite the reputation around the West Wood, playing his trumpet in bars with their smoky, sweaty ambiance, tequila sunrises, and jazz. But between his trumpet and his flame Betty, things are going astray. Betty is drowning her need of him in expensive champagne, something someone else is more than happy to provide... something he'd much prefer, like her, would just stay chilled."

Received a pdf for review from the publisher.

This has such a cute cover and at first glance may appear to be a children's book but it is NOT.  It has a mature adult story and swearing.  Set in perhaps the '30s somewhere in France, it is the age of Jazz, and this is the tragic affair of Little Rice Duck, the trumpet playing Jazz musician, and his love Betty Blues who dumps him one night in the bar for a rich sweet-talking man who promises her champagne and the good life.  A very charming story as each goes their separate way.  Rice gives up the life as he blames it for Betty's leaving him and he takes to the road meeting people, having adventures, and perhaps making a difference in this world while always pining for Betty.  Betty, on the other hand, quickly finds out that being the trophy on a rich man's arm is not all it was cracked up to be and each day she pines more and more for her lost Rice until she regrets her decision.  I found the story very touching and felt sympathetic to the characters.  The ending is very shocking and tragic.  The art is somewhat raw but I like the style and found it a delight.  I thought this would be a much more simple book than it turned out to be and am quite impressed with the emotions it invoked in me.  I'd be quite interested in checking out Dillies other work that has been translated into English.