This little book, ‘French Milk’ by Lucy Knisley popped up in my featured recommendations on Amazon just before Christmas. After an hour or so of tossing random gifts for family and friends into the little shopping cart, I decided my good work shouldn’t go unnoticed – I wanted a reward! It being Christmas time and all, cash was of the essence. So I allowed myself pick one thing to the value of about €10 and so, I ended up with this very sweet little book. Even though the old adage says, “You shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover”, that’s exactly what I did. How could I not? The text and illustration on the cover would hold anyone’s attention.
I also read a brief summary that describes French Milk as a travel diary on the city of Paris, where Lucy and her Mother decide to live for six weeks, each facing a milestone birthday. I was sold at ‘Paris’, since I have been quite interested in all things Parisian lately – the city, the eiffel tower on anything, macaroons and expensive French skincare products. In many respects I like how Parisian women function.
Since I purchased it on a whim, I didn’t read enough to know that French Milk is a graphic novel. Whoops. No harm done though, as Lucy is an illustrator and she documents her days in Paris with her amusing drawings and some photography of food, sights, stores and the people she encountered along the way. I finished the book in one afternoon and really enjoyed reading about Lucy and her Mother’s quirky apartment, their impressions of Paris, the abundance of museum, café and flea market trips…as well as Lucy’s penchant for pastries and her love affair with the creamy richness of French Milk (hence the title.)
Although I was done and dusted with this book weeks before my return to Salamanca, I packed it in my suitcase for it’s value. Lucy’s personal experiences and views on many different cultural landmarks, restaurants, markets and cafés dotted around Paris make French Milk an excellent and alternative guidebook.
The only issue I had with the book was that Lucy can be a little whiny. Although I enjoy her honesty throughout the book, so it’s probably why she has mentioned both the trips ups and downs, she can come off as a little ungrateful, considering her circumstances. She mentions missing her boyfriend a lot and gets a bit moody for no reason, which proved a little irritating at times. I did enjoy her dramatic descriptions for things however, and her appetite (she figures she ate around 60 croissants during her trip.) The book also touches on Lucy’s relationship with her Mother and how it has ‘shifted’ since living together in Paris. I can only assume this shift was a positive one. Their relationship is never really mentioned, not that it was a burning-dying-to-know-tell-me-please question as to what their differences were, but the subject quite vague and what I thought to be an unnecessary inclusion in French Milk.
♥ ♥ ♥