Book Review: Le Livre Blanc by Jean Cocteau

Le Livre Blanc by Jean Cocteau Title: Le Livre Blanc (The White Book)
Author: Jean Cocteau
Publisher: Peter Owen Modern Classics
ISBN: 0-7206-1081-8
Genre: Literary Fiction, Semi-Autobiographical
Pages: 76
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

I do not see any reason for anyone to tolerate someone else. Well, that is just the way I look at things and believe should be. On the other hand, there are reasons why people think or may be confuse the two terms – acceptance and tolerance, and more so when it comes to sexual orientation. I honestly believe that somewhere down the line we make too much of it. It isn’t like it is a novelty you know, and yet it is perceived as one. How does gender matter when two people love or adore each other? How does it even make a difference when two people want to indulge in sex and have a good time? I have never understood it and don’t intend to either. For me it is clear: My happiness comes first and it should.

With such thoughts I am talking about a book I read a long time ago and now reread it, dealing with sexual orientation and how it impacts people. “Le Livre Blanc” or “The White Book” by Jean Cocteau was first published in 1928 and it so happened that Cocteau decreed that it be published anonymously. It was however later, somewhere in 1953 that the author’s identity came to fore. Why did Cocteau want this work published anonymously? Because it dealt with his coming to terms with his so called homosexual identity. The book is semi-autobiographical in nature and he did not want to be tormented by people when they came to know that he was gay. The book is about his affairs, his school, his desires, his wanting to fight those desires and finally coming to terms with them.

“Le Livre Blanc” is about coming to terms with who you are and what are its implications. The book is a quick read. It does not mull so much about the topic as I would have liked it to, but that is alright. I guess that was the author’s prerogative. The drawings are beautiful. They almost make you want to fall in love. “Le Livre Blanc” is a raw mediation on desire and about finding one’s identity. It is melancholic and about forbidden love. A book that sure should be read by all. A must read about a topic that is different and needs much thought and contemplation.

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