French Milk

Lucy Knisley, Author
Lucy Knisley, Author . Touchstone $15 (193p) ISBN 978-1-4165-7534-4
Reviewed on: 09/22/2008
Release date: 10/01/2008
Paperback - 188 pages - 978-0-9789427-5-5
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 192 pages - 978-1-4165-8824-5
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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. (Oct.)

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