There is no sense in crying over spilt milk — Sophocles

This post was previously published on November 15, 2009. I’m migrating my old posts over to WordPress. Here’s one for you in case you missed it.

What do you do when a book is comes highly recommended and you read it and wish you had not invested the fifteen dollars in it? Do you question the taste of the recommender? Or do you search for something in yourself that missed the central core of the story? I’ve been struggling with French Milk by Lucy Knisley for weeks.

Okay — so the source of the recommendation was a twenty-something associate at Borders Books and I’m not twenty-something. Perhaps that is the problem, but I usually enjoy the books that my daughter and her friends read. French Milk is the memoir of an Art Institute of Chicago student who spends five weeks in Paris with her mother. They rent a flat, enjoy the culture and food of France, and have a good time getting to know each other as adults. The title refers to the author’s love affair with the full-fat milk that is served in France. Knisley is a cartoon artist, so the story is presented as a graphic diary. She’s creative and witty, and her drawings are beautifully detailed, but I just wished there were more words!

According to a Publishers Weekly reviewer on Amazon.com, French Milk was originally self published and became a word-of-mouth hit that led to mainstream publication with Simon and Schuster. Given the popularity of graphic novels, Knisley hit the big time at the right time. Despite its cartoon format, it is primarily a travel diary. Lucy’s schedule encourages the reader to invest leisurely time in Paris rather than trying to see it all in four days, as I plan to do. I know it’s wrong, and I’m pretty sure I won’t be satisfied with the whirlwind tour of Paris that’s in my agenda this summer.

When I bought French Milk at Borders, I also bought The Hunger Games. The same associate told me that I HAD to buy the sequel as well since I was going to want to read it immediately after finishing Hunger Games. Now I’m worried that the sequel to Hunger Games won’t be worth reading either. I’ve already heard from my friends that it’s not as good as the first book, and I haven’t been clamoring to get it back from the friend I lent it to. I guess the moral to this story is to use my public library first.

Does anyone want to borrow French Milk? I own it.

Postscript to this entry: I lent French Milk to Vanderbilt Wife. You’ll have to ask her for it. I have not read the sequel to Hunger Games yet, but will soon.

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