Tuesday, 8 April 2014

French Milk by Lucy Knisley

This morning saw me lying in bed reading this delightful little book.  I didn't think I would like it and reviews of it on the web are mixed.  For one it is a graphic novel. Though it is only 193 pages long so it is quite quick to read.

Lucy and her mother live in Chicago. They decide to go to Paris for a month in January to celebrate her mother's 50th birthday and her 22nd birthday.  They rent an apartment and settle in to enjoy their almost 5 weeks away.

In the beginning I didn't think I would like this book because for one it is a graphic novel and that is not a genre I am used to.  But as I kept reading, I refused to give up because the book is so short, I found myself very much enjoying it.

Now I cannot draw but I dearly wish I could.  Give me a ruler and a pencil and I will show you a crooked line. I mean really, look at my Penguins I dress.

But Lucy's journal is quite amusing and she covers quite a range of things in Paris for the month.

She draws a page a day so the book is in a journal format. She draws her apartment with quite a bit of detail, where she ate, the wondrous cafes and restaurants and the museums they visit.  She includes the food they ate almost daily and the sights they saw in the museums. The nude women are quite entertaining. She can't get over all the naked women that are portrayed in Paris. She details the things they buy when shopping.

She falls in love with Paris milk, foi gras and the many different delicatessen foods. She draws them in abundance.

She visits the cemeteries and includes grave stones of Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett to name a couple. She also include the bookshops and she and her mother buy and read books throughout the month that she includes in her pictures.  I quite enjoyed her visits to bookshops, art supply stores and cemeteries.
She also includes some photographs of herself on the left side of the book that match the graphics on the right side of the book.

Midway through their trip her father comes for a visit and the three of them enjoy wandering around Paris together. They see a few films, take photos of dogs and on many pages she records her moods as happy to sad to grumpy to just plain homesick. Though generally she is happy, she is establishing a good relationship with her mother and she enjoys most of the experiences she has.

Surprisingly enough if I were to visit Paris and followed her itinerary I would enjoy quite a few varied experiences as she names the places she visits, everywhere from cafes, restaurants to bookstores and monuments.

This is a light read and once I got into the rhythm of the graphic nature of it I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend this book for some light hearted and intelligent fun.

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