Review: French Milk by Lucy Knisley

French Milk by Lucy Knisley
Published by Epigraph Publishing on September 2007
Genres: Non-fiction, Travelogue
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
three-stars

French Milk by Lucy Knisley

French Milk is every Francophile’s version of p*rn. 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!

Review On A Post-It
three-stars

Of Literature And Locations: Paris

I mentioned last month that I really wanted to infuse some of my other passions into this book blog so I didn’t have to start a blog about every single one of my passions in life. One of my biggest passions is traveling. I love experiencing culture, seeing something I’ve only dreamt of seeing, trying new things and really just the whole process of traveling—its so thrilling to me! I feel like I always take away something new and add even more layers to myself…I’m never the same person I was before I left.

So this is my solution– a sporadic feature called Of Literature And Locations that will showcase anything relating to traveling and books..and sometimes maybe just traveling 🙂 I’ve been stockpiling some fun things to share with you and I hope that others who have been bitten by the eternal travel bug will enjoy this! Just wait until next week– I’ve got an incredible list of literary-themed hotels!

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Oh Paris, j’adore. I had dreamed of going to Paris since I was a little girl and watched Passport to Paris with Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. Yeah, they pretty much rocked. And to me, Paris seemed magical and totally romantic and the accents seemed so much more sophisticated and interesting than my Northern PA accent. It’s no wonder authors like Gatsby and Hemingway lived the expat dream there in the City of Lights.

I finally was able to fulfill my dream of going to Paris in college as part of a 10 day tour FOR CREDIT. And you know what, it was pretty magical and I loved the culture…and the French totally aren’t rude! I encounter more rude people in the city of Philadelphia.

My “J’Adore” List:

* The Eiffel Tower At Night — During the daytime the Eiffel Tower wasn’t all that more than a good photo op and a fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Architecturally it made me giddy..but it just lacked that romantic element that I had been dreaming of. I mean, honestly I was expecting fireworks and swoony moments. HOWEVER, when the sun starts to set (which was pretty darn late in June!) it goes all sparkly and then the lights turn on and seriously..it’s amazing. We were on a cruise on the River Seine and it was a good thing that I had a boyfriend because I was about ready to kiss the first Parisian man I saw because it was THAT romantical. That would have been awkward since it was our tour guide.

* The Art/Architecture — Seriously, for those who love art and architecture…it’s worth being a tourist and seeing things like the Louvre or Notre Dame or really just walking around and admiring the architecture. I felt like everything was much more architecturally interesting than in Pennsylvania.

* Internet Cafes — You rock my world. I had important matters to attend to for an internship so it was nice to be able to just pop into one of these and be able to check my email real quick.

* Fashion – I did some major damage to my wallet in Paris. So many interesting places to shop and very stylish. Make sure you understand European sizes…I had to help many girls on the trip with that one!

* Versailles — Ok, this isn’t in Paris but it was a nice day trip to do if you are in Paris. Celebrities have nothing on the extravagance of French royalty. Phenomenal architecture, beautiful gardens and so much rich history.

Things I Didn’t Like: Not speaking the language, waiting in lines, pickpocketers (that SOB had his hand in my friend’s pocket..naughty naughty) and the smell of piss in the subway.

I vow to get back there so I can really experience Paris and especially the food. I felt like there were a lot of things I didn’t get to do being their with a tour for school and I would have rather eaten at some more interesting restaurants rather than whatever was pre-scheduled with the tour group. The foodie in me was NOT HAPPY.

As always, while I’m not traveling, I’ll be doing some armchair traveling to the City of Lights and beyond.  Here are ten great books set in Paris  (a mix of YA, Adult fiction and travelogues). Let yourself be swept up in the allure of Paris, I implore you!

Anna and the French KissRevolutionFrench MilkThe Invention of Hugo CabretParis to the MoonA Moveable FeastThe Elegance of the HedgehogThe Hunchback of Notre-Dame (Modern Library Classics)Almost French: Love and a New Life in ParisThe Red Necklace: A Story of the French Revolution [RED NECKLACE -OS]

Anna and the French Kiss
Revolution
French MilkThe Invention of Hugo Cabret
Paris to the Moon
A Moveable Feast
The Elegance of the Hedgehog
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris
The Red Necklace: A Story of the French Revolution (Thorndike Press Large Print Literacy Bridge Series)

What are some of your favorite books set in Paris? Have you ever traveled to Paris…tell me your experience!

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