Although I have little experience reading graphic novels, I’m intrigued by the idea of them. I obviously love writing. And I also love the visual arts (having been a bit of an artist myself in my teens, and having grown up in the same house as an illustrator aunt). So combining them theoretically opens the possibility of the best of both worlds.
A few years ago, when my son was young, I assumed graphic forms were only for teens and kids. My latest read proves they are not.
French Milk is Lucy Knisley’s travelogue of a six-week trip to Paris with her mother. There is no overwhelming narrative arc here, no obvious life-changing twists à la Eat, Pray, Love. This is simply an illustrated chronicle of a family vacation (one very focused on food).
First, it makes me thoroughly miss Paris.
Second, it makes me thankful that authors like Lucy dare to share themselves—and that their friends and families are willing to be exposed too. Karen at One More Page recently wrote about how her blog about books makes her feel self-conscious. Imagine taking that further and displaying your personal life!
Third, it makes me think: I could do this too! Such simple drawings! I could draw a suitcase. I could draw a glass of wine. Maybe I’ll whip up a travelogue myself!
It’s deceptive, of course. Like everyone good at their craft, Lucy makes it look easy (and shows us how here). I may indeed be able to draw a glass of wine, but a person slouched at a dinner table expressing dismay? All with a few strokes of pen? Definitely not. I think I’ll stick to writing and leave illustrating to the pros.