February 2, 2009

French Milk by Lucy Knisley

Amazon.com Product Description:

For her 22nd birthday—and her mother's 50th—Lucy Knisley and her mother went to Paris. For more than a month, they toured the City of Lights from their fifth arrondissement flat, exploring museums and cafes, taking photographs, eating pastries and drinking French milk, which Knisley says is sweeter than its American counterpart; she compares it with the influence we take in from our mothers. Knisley's first book is unquestionably a travel journal first and foremost: Lucy-the-writer is so close to Lucy-the-subject that at times the story lacks background and emotional complexity. But as a travel journal French Milk shines. Knisley's photographs from the trip punctuate sketches of her daily adventures and musings about graduating from art school, first love and having an adult relationship with her mother. Best of all are Knisley's portraits of home at the beginning and end of the book, which capture her childhood home and college life lovingly but with clear eyes. Knisley's cartoony drawings are pleasingly clean in one panel and tellingly detailed in the next. A word-of-mouth hit when it first came out in a self-published limited edition, French Milk will remind readers of their own early trips to Europe and of traveling in their 20s.

Warning, this book will make you hungry, it will make you hungry for foods you've never even heard of! A friend told me about comic artist, Lucy Knisley and her blog. I think the post she told me about was a day she had drawn everything she had eaten for dinner the night before at a fancy restaurant. So I wasn't really surprised to see all her food drawings in this book but it still made me want to try all the things she ate, things I had never heard of! I still don't know what some of them are, what are cornichons?

Anyhow, this book is a combination of a travel journal and a 20-something journal of worry and growing up. I loved it! I'm a 20-something so that part was very easy to relate to for me and also I love to travel (not that I have done much lately) so I love to read about trips. To me, there's really no better way to read a travel journal that in the form of comics! Everything is so much easier to visualize! It also doesn't hurt that a lot of photos are included.

This book is seriously a gem, this girl has got good taste! She talks about everything from her day's purchases to weird things about the apartment she and her mom are staying in to the books she is reading. It's great. I wish it was like 4 times longer! Good thing she has another book and a website that she updates often. And her illustration style? It's so cute, she can go from simple drawings to more detailed beautiful images of people (i love the way she draws faces).

It reminded me a bit of Vanessa Davis's book Spaniel Rage, they are both the going ons of a young woman's life, they don't really set out to get a laugh but sometimes do anyways! It's basically their journal. Great stuff, and I want to read much much more!

4.5/5 Stars


Alea said...

I'm subscribing to comments to see if anyone comments!

jehara said...

cornichons are little pickled cucumbers. :)

Alea said...

Jehara- Oooh! Interesting thanks!