French Milk by Lucy Knisley
French Milk is every Francophile’s version of porn. Seriously, as someone who adored every moment in Paris and who dreams to go back, reading this was the next best thing to satiate the longings I get to sit in a cool Parisian cafe and eat a croissant or to just stare adoringly at the Eiffel Tower while I soak up the rich history of the city of Paris.
French Milk is a travelogue like no other. I’ve read a lot of travelogues so I feel pretty confident in saying this. It is a journal of a six week trip to Paris taken by a twenty something girl and her mother. Lucy, the twenty something, is the lens in which we get to experience the great City of Lights. Rather than filling the pages with the typical wordy descriptions of experiences in foreign lands and retrospective musings as most travelogues, Lucy shares her experiences and feelings straight out of her journal. But unlike most journals, her journal is KICK ASS. She is an amazing artist and aspiring comic book illustrator so the whole book is a mix of comic book like drawings of the things the saw, ate and experienced…along with how she felt along the way. She also incorporated real pictures that she took along the way. It slightly reminded me of my own travel journal minus the fact that I can’t draw.
One of the reasons I really enjoyed this book could possibly be a detractor for other people who aren’t as obsessed about travelogues or Paris as I am. Most of the travelogues I read tend to be pretty fast paced and travel along to different places. What I loved about this is that they pretty much stayed in Paris the whole time. It wasn’t a fast paced, crazy adventure but I really enjoyed getting such a glimpse of the real Paris…not just the tourist’s view of Paris. I truly felt like I experienced Paris in a different way reading about the food and their immersion into the cultural for six weeks. I guess maybe I feel the same way that I feel about travel. Sure, I want to run around and keeping hopping along to as many countries and places as I possibly can see in a span of a week or two. I want to see it all. But ideally, I would love to spend significant time in places and really look beyond the surface. That is the experience I got from this book and I loved it.
That being said, I’ll admit that at sometimes I wish that there would be a little more happening or that I’d really understand some of the things that she learned while she was there..but it really was such a great experience for me. And such a unique and refreshing take on a travelogue.
My Final Thought: French Milk was a unique travelogue that I really enjoyed and read in a matter of hours due to the format of the book. I loved that I felt totally immersed in Parisian life and I found myself wanting to keep this book for reference to find the cool non-touristy cafes and restaurants that she visited during her six weeks of becoming a local of sorts. I’d probably really only recommend this to people who are travelogue addicts like myself and don’t mind something a little slower paced and different than your typical travelogue. Read this if you want to fully be immersed in Parisian life and don’t mind lots of talk of food and museums and art. Get on this one Francophiles and foodies!