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French Milk

3.32  ·  Rating details ·  6,467 ratings  ·  1,154 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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3.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,467 ratings  ·  1,154 reviews

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Mary Elizabeth
Jun 08, 2008 rated it did not like it

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
I knew of Lucy Knisley's work for years but avoided it due to it being a 'graphic novel'. I finally dove in with her book Relish: My Life in the Kitchen as I needed a food pickme-up. I found the graphic novel part was quite interesting so I wanted to read more of her works.

French Milk is a diary tale of her trip to Paris with her mother. They rented an apartment and spent five weeks walking around, seeing the sites, eating lots of food, in the city of lights. When I say this is her diary tale..
Apr 14, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 50-for-2009
Eat. Shop. Complain. Eat. La fin.
Courtney Williams
Jun 29, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: kindle
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
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
Feb 17, 2009 rated it liked it
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 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
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
No strong feelings for this, it was average in every way. Average drawings, average thoughts, average everything.
The food was probably the most interesting part, mostly because it was all kinds of disgusting (nothing but foie gras and oyster). Lucy was meh, she wasn't very likeable or engaging, all she did was moan about everything despite having lots of great opportunities. Also, she made Paris seem rather boring.
MB (What she read)
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-explorations, then you will probably enjoy this. On the other hand, if your background was much less privileged; then I estimate Lucy will likely come off as annoying, whiny, and self-absorbed. In that case this memoir may be grating to you. (It was t ...more
Jun 07, 2016 rated it did not like it
I was set to give this book two stars. it's really not very good: it reads like a 16-year-old's livejournal in which they post inane lists of the crap they bought and stuff they ate (even though the stuff they ate is THE SAME THING EVERY DAY) interspersed with drawings of inconsistent quality (the humans and places look good but the food looks like disgusting unrecognizable lumps) and blurry, weirdly-framed photos. when her boyfriend criticizes her for being a sad sack/being ungrateful about get ...more
Nov 09, 2017 rated it liked it
More like a series of postcards than an actual novel. Maybe useful as a travel guide.
I've been a fan of Lucy Knisley's since probably around 2007, actually, which is when she published this travelogue of her time in Paris with her mother, when both of them were celebrating special birthdays. Lucy was turning twenty-two, just on the verge of graduating from college, and her mother was turning fifty. They spent five weeks living in a tiny Parisian apartment, going to see museums, and eating mounds and mounds of French food.

Honestly, I don't even remember where or how I found her b
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
Meh. This is basically what the book is about so you won't have to read it: "My parents gave me an all-expenses-paid trip to Paris and I griped about everything. Then drew 193 pages of things I bought on my many shopping trips, ate my weight in foie gras and drank my weight in whole milk. I consistently call macarons "cookies" though I try to speak in "franglish" to use the French words I DO know and though I was only there for a month, I eventually come home and proclaim that Americans are so f ...more
Brown Girl Reading
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 13, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008
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
K.D. Winchester
2.5 stars. I little to whiny and navel gazing-ish for my taste. There were good moments and the art was great, but I couldn't help think that the author was immature and a bit spoiled. But I'll bet that now, almost ten years later, that her work must be great. A little maturity goes a long way.
Ashley M
Feb 22, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: year-2009
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.
Mar 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
I decided I wanted to read through all of Lucy Knisley's books, and went back to this first one, which I had never read before. If she had never published another work, I think this one would largely have been forgotten- especially in today's era of indulgently abundant free diary comics online. This book stands up, and is remarkable partly because so many of the relationships, thoughts, and themes of her later books can already be seen brewing here. It's impossible not to read this one with the ...more
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
Apr 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Feb 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Jan 06, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
It's really interesting to see how Lucy Knisley's work has matured and grown as she has as well. She worked on this when she was 21/22, and it's very obvious in terms of her attitude. I'm not talking about her complaining or being unhappy in France - that's allowed and I don't know why people think it's not.. there are, believe it or not, depressed people in France.
Her speech is kind of awkward and pseudo-sophisticated in a way that people in their early twenties do. I don't know how to explain
Mar 31, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 25, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: comics, travel, memoir, france
A diary written by a 21-year-old girl about a totally unremarkable trip to Paris, cataloguing what she ate and what she bought. I need things to be at least a bit reflective or have at least a bit of adventure to them - this was boring even though the drawing style was good. It was all "I went to the bookstore and bought some books, we ate dinner at ... "
Jun 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novel
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
My second experience with her work. Much less introspective than Age of License, which I preferred. Eager to read her remaining work in publication order to better experience her growth and development as a cartoonist/memoirist.
Beth Knight
I enjoyed this graphic memoir and feel like it would be a good "starter book" for people just getting into graphic novels/memoirs. The inclusion of actual black and white photographs was interesting, and to me at least, original. I read Lucy Knisley's "Relish" and realize I like her art style.

The book chronicles a six week trip to Paris, which she took with her mother. There's something in here for everyone to enjoy, as there's talk about museums and art, cafes and food (and drink), various kind
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Goodreads Librari...: Library Binding editions 5 27 Apr 11, 2017 03:47AM  
Around the Year i...: French Milk, by Lucy Knisley 1 14 Feb 21, 2016 11:48PM  
im enjoying this 10 35 Nov 16, 2015 05:45AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: #43 - French Milk 1 3 Jun 25, 2015 04:51PM  

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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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