Published by Simon and Schuster
Rating: 5 out of 5
Before I became an English teacher and absolutely enthralled with Victorian England, I was a French major and mesmerized with the Parisian lifestyle (I think I should have been born in Europe). In high school I was fortunate enough to be a part of a three week student exchange trip to France. We stayed four days in Paris, and then traveled to the south of France, Arcachon, to stay with French families and attend the local "ecole" I had great plans of returning to France during my adulthood, but other milestones in life took precedent: marriage, children, etc. I did have an amazing opportunity to revisit Paris for a whirlwind 3 day "all expenses paid" seminar about three years ago, and I am convinced that I will go back some day -- for an extended period of time - with my husband.
Not too long ago I read two amazing reviews for this book: one from Beth Fish Reads and the other from Joann at Lakeside Musing. The title alone attracted me to the book, but their reviews enticed me to immediately place a hold at my local library.
Because the book is in graphic novel form, it is a very easy, quick read. While I am not normally a fan of this genre (more due to lack of exposure rather than a true aversion), I think it is the PERFECT medium for this memoir. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case, I would say a cartoon is worth at least that many. I truly appreciated the author's talent. She has such a way of capturing the details of the moment in a very simple style --- deceptively simple. The entire time I read the book I kept thinking, "Oh, this would be a great way to journal my upcoming trip to London." However, once I try to draw a baguette of bread it would take on the appearance of a dead piece of wood (highly unappetizing).
Ms. Knisley also accompanies these wonderful drawings with journalistic entries that detail her daily emotions, thoughts, and activities. The 5 week trip to Paris was meant as a special celebration of her mother turning 50 and Knisely turning 22 and graduating from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Both ladies are true artists, so there is lots of documentation on the Parisian museums. I am also under the impression that they are amateur "gourmands" as nearly each detailed meal is a culinary delight. Quite often they would visit the Rue Mouffetard marketplace and bring home such delicacies as fois gras and duck confit. I must say that I could read and re-read these sections every day. It is a real dream of mine to some day live close enough to an open-air market that I can daily visit the stalls and bring home whatever inspires me at the moment.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys travel, art, food, and life. Knisley's young, care-free attitude is a breath of fresh air, although she does occasionally use a bit of profanity to express her current mood (I did not find this at all offensive, but there perhaps be some of you who might).