French Milk
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French Milk

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3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  3,272 ratings  ·  622 reviews
A place where young Americans can seek poetic magic in the winding streets of a beautiful city. The museums, the cafs, the parks. An artist like Lucy can really enjoy Paris in January. If only she can stop griping at her mother. This comic journal details a mother and daughters month-long stay in a small apartment in the fifth arrondissement. Lucy is grappling with the ons...more
Paperback, 188 pages
Published September 5th 2007 by Epigraph Publishing
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Les Misérables by Victor HugoA Tale of Two Cities by Charles DickensA Moveable Feast by Ernest HemingwayMy Life in France by Julia ChildThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Books About Paris
84th out of 350 books — 394 voters
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Best Memoirs/Autobiography/Travel
63rd out of 296 books — 344 voters


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Community Reviews

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Mary Elizabeth

I suppose I was expecting something more substantive when I picked up this book. What I found instead was a collection of drawings and photos of what Knisley ate and bought while living in Paris for 6 weeks with her mother. And she ate and bought a lot (I'm pretty sure that if I could, I would, too.) The thing is, that doesn't make for a gripping or even an intriguing read. The comic became an inventory of consumption and anecdotes.

This was all the more frustrating given her projected scope for...more
nicole
Years back, I wrote a pretty scathing review of French Milk just after finishing it. You know, that time where you feel pure emotion and your gut reaction is all you're going off? Caps lock was even used. I don't think this is a terrible way to review, necessarily. Reading is an experience, and it's fair to judge it as such. But reading is also about how you feel afterward, days or even years later, and how a book sticks (or doesn't) with you, how it effects some part of you. And gut reactions l...more
HeavyReader
This comic tells the story of a young woman in her early 20s who spends a month in Paris with her mother. There wasn't really a plot to the story; this was the journal and sketch book of her day to day life. I liked that. I liked getting a glimpse of what this woman did in Paris, where she went, what she ate.

I was a bit bugged by money. The author/artist mentions several times that she is worried about her finances, can't afford to buy things, yet does manage to buy things and is spending a mont...more
Ciara
Feb 17, 2009 Ciara rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: comic diarists, people going to france soon, lucy's friends
for some reason, i was really obsessed with finding this book & reading it, even though i am not a huge fan of graphic books or books where spoiled 22-year-olds go to paris & spend half their time there crying because they miss their boyfriends or are worried about their finances. i think i liked the idea of the book more than i liked the execution, even though i knew on some level that of course the idea was bound to be better than the execution. but i put a hold on it at the library an...more
Miss Kitty
I started out alternately hatin' on (WTF? Her parents are paying for her to live in Paris for a month?) and liking (pages after pages of "This is what I ate and it was soooo good,") this book. I heard about it from my absolutely favorite young adult literature blog Readingrants.org so I had high hopes, despite my extreme jealousy of her City of Lights living. Hrmph. The book's cover says something about exploring the relationship between mothers and daughters. Well, I must have skipped the page...more
Courtney Williams
Book 14/52 for 2012, review cross-posted to my blog.


I've tried to like Lucy Knisley's work; really, I have. My main issue has always been that, while she often states that she's going to explore an concept and make meaningful observations, she rarely delivers. For example, her Kickstarter-funded Here at Hogwarts comic promised to be "about our experience [going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park], and how Harry Potter as a cultural phenomenon has shaped fan society, British/Americ...more
MB
Basically, this is a travel diary in comic format. I suspect that the reader's reaction to this book depends on how much YOU identify with Lucy. I.e. if reading this brings back happy memories of college days and travel and such butterfly like self-exploration, then you will probably enjoy this. On the other hand, if your background was much less privileged; then Lucy will likely come off as privileged and self-absorbed. In that case this memoir may be grating to you.

I'd be interested to see wh...more
Didi
This was so pleasurable to read. I loved reading about Lucy and her Mom's 6 week stay in Paris. If anything you could use this book as a list of things to do, see, and eat in Paris. It made me laugh and smile. It made me reminisce over quite a lot of things I love about Paris. I loved the idea of mixing photography and comics. Lucy also has just the right comments about the different situations they she and her Mom went through. If it would have had a few recipes it would have a perfect 5 stars...more
Andrea Marley
Cute. Oh, to be 22 years old.
Ru
i am giving this the full five stars for several reasons. the first is the potential it showcases. knisley is young, seems to know a lot of the right people (bryan lee o'malley, hope larson, etc), has a wonderful way with a brush/pen/ink (her sketch style is very reminiscent of craig thompson's carnet du voyages). several reviews i have read seem to take offense that a visual diary from a young woman in her early 20s appears to be written by a young woman in her early 20s (whiny, self-indulgent,...more
Jill
I thought this book would be a little more introspective, especially since the author herself mentions early on calling it French Milk as a reference to, well, French milk, but also to mother's milk and what's passed on by a mother to daughter. But there was no discussion of their relationship at all, and even the milk shows up late in the book -- strange for something that is, after all, the title image. I'd been hoping for something more along the lines of Alison Bechdel's "Fun Home."

I liked...more
Jennifer
The three stars is actually an average. If I were basing the rating on the story alone, I would've given it two stars. Nothing happens to the author other than she spends six weeks in Paris with her mother shopping, eating, reading and visiting museums. Don't get me wrong- that sounds like a dream vacation, but the author's personal experience didn't translate into an amazing reading experience for *me*. It's kinda like you had to be there, you know?

On the other hand, the pen and ink drawings (a...more
Annie
I thought this was really, really sweet. It touched a chord with me, since I'm kind of in the same time of my life as the author, and her feelings about her friends & work & life & mom & "ack! what am I even doing?" resonated. I wished it had been longer, so that it wouldn't have had to end so soon :) I've seen a lot of criticism that this book's self-centered and entirely about shopping and food... while those are fairly true, it didn't bother me. It's a diary, and I actually li...more
Ashley (cnthrdlywt2bwz)
I did not care for this. Drawings were neat but I have no interest in what this whiny, smoking, insolent teen had to say. Just not worth my hour & a half.
Angi
Eat. Shop. Complain. Eat. La fin.
Mary
Generally a cute graphic-travellogue. The premise is that the author spends a few weeks in Paris with her mom while working on her final project for her undergraduate degree - which is essentially this book. The story moves along at a nice pace, includes quirky observations and does a nice job of balancing the grandiose history of Paris with contemporary references that keep it modern (the trip takes place in Dec 06 - Jan 07).

There is extensive mention of all the food the author and her mom eat...more
Kelly
Lucy's memoir of her five week stay in Paris with her mother as she nears the end of her college career. It's full of angst -- of the wondering what she'll do, where she'll go when school's over -- and it's also full of food, of travel, and of culture.

I really appreciated how much angst Lucy gives us without fear, too. She's very honest and realistic about having days where she just didn't feel like being present because her own mind space was begging her to lay in bed and do little else. There...more
Parka
French Milk is a sketchbook travelogue on the author Lucy Knisley and her mother. They spent 6 weeks together travelling in Paris. It seems pretty long for a holiday but hey, it's Paris!

Using her brush pen, she records her adventure in the new city, visiting museums, dining, shopping and taking pictures. Through the single panel cartoons and writeup, we're let how she sees the world as a young adult. She's 21 when she drew all these.

While there are few days where she gripes about stuff, the char...more
Sharon
I think I heard a couple of friends recommend this book/comic artist to me, one in particular when I was expounding on my recent Lynda Barry obsession, but to be perfectly honest I didn't really care for it that much. The sketching was skillful and competent, but as a travel journal it rarely felt insightful or even introspective in any way. Maybe I came in with unrealistic expectations, compared to Barry it seems very shallow and frivolous. I know this was really an on the fly thing about livin...more
Raina
This is totally up my alley. Lucy is 3 years younger than I and looks to be heavily influenced by Craig Thompson's awesome Carnet de Voyage. This is Knisley's sketchbook/journal from a month in Paris with her mother in January of 2007. Her illustration style is very accessible and reminiscent of Thompson. I enjoyed this window into her life. Unfortunately, I felt like she didn't go as deep as Thompson. All they did was go to museums, eat, and shop. She angsts about money, but eats foie gras ever...more
Jeremy
I did not enjoy this. I haven't had a reaction this negative to a book for a long time.

I wish I were exaggerating. This "story" is mostly an unimaginative account of things she bought and food she ate. The drawings were interspersed with distracting (and often unfocused) photography, all of which completely broke the immersion.

Nothing interesting happens to anyone. It's as if the artist never stopped to ask herself if the story needed to be told at all. The closest we get to drama or character d...more
Heather
In December 2006/January 2007, Lucy Knisley took a six-week trip to Paris with her mother to celebrate her mother's fiftieth birthday and Lucy's twenty-second. French Milk is Knisley's travel journal from that trip, and it's a pleasing combination of photos, text, and drawings (Knisley is a cartoonist). I love all the Parisian details of this book—the buildings, the food, the great old stuff at the flea market, the art that Knisley and her mother see at the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay, the Pantheo...more
Daniel
Knisley's drawings are nice. She has a great line quality and ease in rendering people, especially their faces. I also like the layout and the use of photos in this book. On the other hand, I felt the content was rather boring and the author/main character was a bit pretentious. Yes, this is a diary and so some self-indulgence is par for the course, but once it's published it becomes a book that other people are expected to read and enjoy.

How can Knisley write about a month of shopping sprees a...more
Anna
Review first posted here: http://www.pocketfulofbooks.com/2012/...

This book is designed to charm your pants off. And it definitely worked on me. If you have ever dreamed of Paris and wearing a beret whilst you soujourn jauntily around the museums and art galleries smoking and looking tres chic (we have all had pretentious dreams) then there is no way that you won't love this book. 'Anna and the French Kiss' did a lot for Paris in the YA book community and I have heard a lot of people saying that...more
Dorothy
I had seen this book in a store, and then got my library to order it for me (and add it to their collection)! How cool is that? I'm glad I didn't buy it, though, because it was generally uninteresting.

I knew I already disliked the author when, on page ONE -- ONE! -- she writes, "I started smoking to prepare for smoky Parisian cafes". OK, eye roll, I am going to be irritated by this person no matter what she has to say. And I was. She really likes oysters, fois gras, sex, and herself. There was N...more
Erik
Only twenty-two when she wrote and drew this, Knisely establishes herself as an up-and-coming creator in this medium with her graphic novel treatment of a month-long trip to the City of Lights with her mother. Aesthetically-speaking, her shapes and ink strokes most resembles James Kochalka crossed with Craig Thompson and Seattle’s own Ellen Forney. And therein lay much of her charm.

On a more critical note, Knisely’s awe of Paris – not to mention her affectation by taking up smoking for her trip...more
Becky
I love her drawings, and the book made me want to visit Paris. I especially loved the incorporation of photographs, and would have liked to see them mixed with cartooning more often, as on the cover. The drawings of tabletops spread with food and wine glasses were very nostalgic to me. However, for a book that was marketed as a mother-daughter exploration, I didn't think it provided much. Lucy rarely got out of herself enough to analyze much of anything; she was with her mother, but I didn't see...more
Avory
I devoured this book in a little over an hour. It's my first graphic novel (actually a graphic memoir), but it was just so fabulous and especially reminiscent of my own life. My mom and I went to Paris together for only a few days, and we were 16 and 43 at the time, not 22 and 50, but there's the same age difference between us and Lucy and her mom, and I really related to the way Lucy chronicled her six weeks in Paris. All about the food, but also I like how she's very real about her more depres...more
Brandi Johnson
A travel diary in comic form of her 5 week holiday in Paris with her mom when she was 22. A lot of reviews were negative; people were displeased with how spoiled she seemed. Not sure what else you'd expect from a journal. People travel to see the sites and eat the food and spend money in the shoppes. I thought it was a pretty accurate account of a vacation. Also: now I'm dying to have some French hot chocolate.
noelle
i don't give a shit enough about someone, especially this someone, to read their 200 pg diary about their time eating and buying shit on vacation. i mean, i gave enough of a shit in that i read it to completion, but it was a stupid choice on my part and something i now wish i hadn't done. i've been reading so many comic memoirs lately and the rest of them had emotional depth and things of interest, even if they weren't exactly of interest to me, but not french milk. seriously. just 200 pages of...more
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im enjoying this 2 24 Feb 19, 2013 08:51AM  
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Beginning with an love for Archie comics and Calvin and Hobbes, Lucy Knisley (pronounced "nigh-zlee") has always thought of cartooning as the only profession she is suited for. A New York City kid raised by a family of foodies, Lucy is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago currently pursuing an MFA at the Center for Cartoon Studies. While completing her BFA at the School of the...more
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