French Milk by Lucy Knisley
Published by Touchstone Books (Simon and Schuster)
Published in 2007
Purchased paperback from Amazon
A place where young Americans can seek poetic magic in the winding streets of a beautiful city. The museums, the cafs, the parks. An artist like Lucy can really enjoy Paris in January. If only she can stop griping at her mother. This comic journal details a mother and daughters month-long stay in a small apartment in the fifth arrondissement. Lucy is grappling with the onslaught of adulthood. Her mother faces fifty. They are both dealing with their shifting relationship. All the while, they navigate Paris with halting French and dog-eared guidebook.
About a month ago I read Relish by Lucy Knisley and instantly became a huge fan of her work. After I read Relish I had to get her earlier, French Milk; and I'm so glad I did. Lucy has a way of telling her life experiences with a sharp wit that you just want to know more about her life. You can completely empathize with her.
The entire book is about her trip to Paris with her mom. When I was twenty-two, my mom and I went to Europe. We had such a great time. But, at the same time, we had those mother/daughter spats and so did Lucy and her mother. This book brought back such great memories for me. The mom/daughter bonding is something that you will treasure forever. Lucy is hardly ever critical of her mom which I find rather refreshing. They had such a great time in Paris. I thought that Lucy really illustrated how close her mother and her really are.
Another thing I really loved was how Lucy was able to show her angst on her soon to be graduation from college. I rememeber when I was twenty-two and trying to figure what I was supposed to do with my life. Her depressive fits were fitting for her time in life. To me, every college-graduate feels the uncertainty after graduating from college. It's scary and depressing.
I loved Lucy's Paris. It was all about food and art. She is a milk and foie gras affionado. She loved the milk in Paris so much that she named her book for it and I totally get it. I remember when I was in Paris and I thought the vegetables never tasted better. It's probably all the nasty preservatives Americans use. But the food DOES taste better in Paris! Most of her memories centers around food. She documents most of her meals during her trip. I loved that her most favorite meals were at their apartment. Lucy and her mom have such a great bond over food.
Lucy's illustrations are fun and fairly simple. I liked how she attempted to portray some classic pieces of art. I found it really amusing.
French Milk is a fun graphic memoir about a twenty-two year women coming age in Paris with her mom. It is funny and sweet. I highly recommend it!