French Milk – Lucy Knisley

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Over the past year I have become a great fan of graphic novels, I enjoy following a story with the characters already on the pages in front of you, the setting in detail on the page and the plot unfolding in images with little use of words.

I first came across French Milk on goodreads, it was a graphic novel I had on my list to buy for a long time and I was very lucky to receive it at Christmas time as a gift. I hadn’t read a lot about it and went into it blind with no real idea of what direction the plot was headed in.

This graphic novel details Lucy’s trip to Paris with her mother for her fiftieth birthday. It is a first person account of their adventure through the streets of Paris. Lucy documents not just the scenery and the clichéd Parisian lifestyle but more the experience of a young American girl in this beautiful city.

I really enjoyed this novel as it doesn’t have the typical Parisian influence but the city acts more as a setting, a background to Lucy and her mum’s adventure. They are staying in Paris for a full month in an apartment so they experience cooking, shopping, and the mundane everyday tasks in the setting of Paris. Their relationship shadows a lot of the plot as they struggle sometimes in each other’s company, Lucy is a young artist and her mother is turning fifty. Both have their own reasons for going to Paris and at times in the plot they clash but in a way the trip makes them stronger.

As this is a look at Lucy Knisley’s life, the graphic novel is essentially her journal from Paris; it is a real insight into her personality and her character. The reader gets a real feel for her experience and her personality even from the entries she chooses to include and the way she illustrates them for the reader.

The pages include minimal writing and more of a visual representation of Lucy and her mother’s trip. Personally I enjoyed this side of Paris that is displayed on the pages, as I mentioned it isn’t the clichéd museums and monuments that everyone visits and sees. I loved the café’s the markets, the pages that Lucy talks about their meals and the descriptions of the French lifestyle. It was a real representation of living in Paris for a month. In a way it made me want to go back to Paris and have an experience similar to Lucy’s and her mother, visit the places I didn’t have a chance to and try more of the food.

For anyone who enjoys reading graphic novels this is definitely one for your bookcase. It was a really lovely read and one I managed to finish in one sitting, I can honestly say I was sad to see it end. From reading this I have added more Lucy Knisley to my wish list for the future, if anyone has any recommendations I would love to read them.

I gave this book a 5 out of 5 on goodreads, and definitely recommend it. I haven’t read a graphic novel of this style before but it is something I would like to find more of for future reads.

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