Written by: Lucy Knisley
Paperback: 208 pages
October 2008, $14.99
Genre: Fiction/Travelogue/Graphic Novel
Through delightful drawings, photographs, and musings, twenty-three-year-old Lucy Knisley documents a six-week trip she and her mother took to Paris when each was facing a milestone birthday. With a quirky flat in the fifth arrondissement as their home base, they set out to explore all the city has to offer, watching fireworks over the Eiffel Tower on New Year's Eve, visiting Oscar Wilde's grave, loafing at cafés, and, of course, drinking delicious French milk. What results is not only a sweet and savory journey through the City of Light but a moving, personal look at a mother-daughter relationship.
Thanks to the lovely Miss Whitney over at Pop Candy, I discovered this little gem. However, I had to wait for the second printing to show up before I could nab it and I am so glad that I did. Three things came out of my little read. One, I want to go to Paris like Lucy and her mother did (If but for the delicious milk). Two, I *so* need to be more artistically inclined (no my graphic design does not cut it. I need to learn to draw). And three, I got really hungry (sadly there are no French cuisine restaurants around here). I wondered if spending a month with my mother in a quaint little Parisian abode would bring us closer together or wrench us further apart. I pondered if my French would hold up or would I be hopelessly lost. And I fantasized on whether if I had the means and went when I came back would I do a whole ‘Sabrina’ thing and be more self assured, more coiffed and more Frenchy as Lucy would put it. Though I am a few years older than Lucy, I related to her tremendously. She has my fears and some of my dreams. I lived vicariously through her for the hour and change it took me to read her adventures.
The book as a whole is a travelogue and yet it is just one chapter of an artist’s memoir as well. It’s a charming little scrapbook done in a way I only wish I could do. I loved her artwork and her descriptions. And I especially liked her sometimes non linear trains of thought. Lucy threw in enough pop culture references, such as singing the soundtrack of Funny Face throughout her visit or her adoration for Oscar Wilde to make me appreciate her even more. When I turned the last page, I sighed happily and then was annoyed that there wasn’t more. I sat and reflected about my own life, felt the twinges of jealousy at Lucy and her mother’s relationship, and decided I need to take some chances next year and work abroad. If a book stays with me long after I have closed it, for me that is a sign of a very good book.
Pick it up. I cannot imagine that you would be at all disappointed.
4 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks