In this charming graphic memoir, twenty-two-year-old artist Lucy Knisley narrates her trip to France with her mother in photographs and drawings. Lucy is about to graduate from college, so her parents spring for the ultimate graduation present—a six week trip in the spring of 2007 to Paris where she and her mother will stay in a rental apartment and sample all the City of Light has to offer. In many ways, this is a typical travel memoir—Lucy lists and draws her everyday experiences, including all the yummy French food she consumes (she estimates having eaten at least 60 croissants and a “metric ton of chocolate mousse” during her stay) and the rich, thick whole French milk she drinks constantly. But what makes this lil’ blue graphic novel special are the very intimate and emotional details of Lucy’s life that are tucked in and around all the sketches of museums and cafes. She unselfconsciously chronicles the fits of depression she falls into when she thinks about leaving the security of school behind, her lusty longings for her boyfriend, and all the times her mother gets on her last nerve. She confesses her doubts that she’ll ever make it as a cartoonist and shares her self-loathing about her “fat American feet” that don’t fit into the sleek European-sized shoes. Lucy is on the scary cusp of adulthood, and even the delights of Paris can’t ease those growing pains. Lucy’s antics will make you chuckle and sigh in recognition, especially if you’re living through that anxious time in your late teens or early twenties. And it was the perfect read for me, as I embark on my own first trip to Paris today! Because of the length of my stay and the jet lag I’m sure to suffer on my return, please don’t expect a new post from me until the end of the month. So au revoir mes amis until then!
French Milk by Lucy Knisley