Erik's Reviews > French Milk

French Milk by Lucy Knisley
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Mar 20, 2009

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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 to the city of so many great (and dead) writers – struck me as a bit naïve. Not to mention that her observations contain some factual errors – like mistaking the current Shakespeare & Co. bookstore as the one that Hemingway frequented. (Alas, it was the original – no connection with the current one along the Seine – that was located several blocks south on Rue de L’Odeon that was run by Sylvia Beach up until the end of WWII.) Yet Knisely’s ability to capture the day-to-day simplicity of her sojourn in Paris – not just the sights, but the food (all those chocolate croissants!) as well as her twenty-something emotional state of mind – makes this freshman effort a precocious work that’s worth a serious look by any broad-minded comics fan.

Although a generally solid first offering, I’m honestly more impressed with her ability to pull this off – especially as she put this together during her last year as an undergrad. Without a doubt, Knisely is one to watch in the coming years.
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