Monday, February 02, 2009

French Milk by Lucy Knisley 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
Purchased by myself


  1. Ooh! This sounds like a dangerous book for me to read, what with France so close and all.

    BTW, cornichons are small pickles. I am not too fond of European pickles frankly. I like my dills!

  2. This sounds like it was written for me: travel, Europe, food, good art. I'm going to have to see if I track this one down.

    Great review.

  3. This sounds really good. I'm looking into this and I'm googling her to check her website out. Thanks for the review.

  4. Alea,

    I just noticed the Willow book cover on your side bar. It reminds me of the girl on the front cover of Undone.

  5. This sounds really good! Adding it to my tbr.

  6. Oh my gosh! I love books and travel and food and Europe....I totally agree with Beth. When I'm older I'll have to give it a try (:

  7. This has been on my TBR list for awhile. Thanks for the review!

  8. I'd love to read this one because I used to live in France so I love books that are set there.

  9. Lenore- I think you would love it but it would be dangerous! Hmm I don't like pickles really at all so that's good to know!

    Beth F- Yeah it was really great!

    Nely- Yay! I love when people have a strong online presence, you can definitely tell if you would want to read their work that way!

    Mrs V. - Oh yeah I can kind of see that!

    KD- I liked it!

    Bookworm- It made me very jealous and hungry!

    S. Krishna- Oooh can't wait to hear what you think of it!

    bermudaonion- You'd love it!

  10. Delicious...I sometimes crave for travel journals, I am a foodie and I love Paris so it's absolutely going to be on my TBR list. Thanks for sharing!

  11. cessie- I hope you enjoy it!


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