“Gemma Bovery” vs. “Tamara Drewe” – Similarities and Differences

“Gemma Bovery” by Posy Simmonds  (1999)

“Tamara Drewe” by Posy Simmonds (2008)

“Gemma Bovery” and “Tamara Drewe” are both graphic novels.  The artwork increases the pleasure. 

All of the pictures in “Gemma Bovery” are black and white.  All of the pictures in “Tamara Drewe” are color.   As a writer becomes more and more popular, her publisher will go all out for her.  Now it is nothing but the best for Posy Simmonds.

 “Tamara Drewe” all takes place in rural England, while “Gemma Bovery” mostly takes place in rural Normandy in France.   “Tamara Drewe” is all in English, while “Gemma Bovery” has much in French, nearly always re-phrased in English.  “Mais qu’est ce que tu fals?…Tu viens de courir?…Alors, tu as bien travaille aujourdhui?” means “What’re you doing?  Have you been running?  Have you done some work today?”

Both “Gemma Bovery” and “Tamara Drewe”  have a lot of sex in them.  Self-explanatory.

“Gemma Bovery” and “Tamara Drewe” both have a chubby middle-aged man in them who doesn’t have any sex, is very nosy, and is integral to the plot of the stories.  Glenn in “Tamara Drewe” is a United States writer, while Jourbert in “Gemma Bovery” is a French baker.

In both “Gemma Bovery” and “Tamara Drewe”, one of the main characters dies mysteriously.   It’s all part of the fun.

 “Gemma Bovery” is of course based on the classic novel “Madame Bovary” by Gustave Flaubert, while “Tamara Drewe” is based on “Far from the Madding Crowd” by Thomas Hardy.  “Tamara Drewe” never mentions “Far from the Madding Crowd” while “Gemma Bovery” constantly mentions “Madame Bovary”.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Fascinating – what a great idea for a blog post. I’ve read Gemma but not Tamara. Perhaps I’ll wait to see the film on DVD when it comes out.


    • Hi Tom C,
      I want to get Tamara Drewe as soon as it comes out on DVD just to see if they caught any of the ambience of the book. Wish it wasn’t such a long time between Posy Simmonds’ books, but I suppose all the drawing is a lot of work.


  2. Movie review: “Tamara Drewe” a funny tale that wins by a nose…

    I found your entry interesting thus I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…


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