Monday, September 22, 2014

book review: An Age of License by Lucy Knisley

The backstory: Lucy Knisley is perhaps my favorite graphic memoirist. I've thoroughly enjoyed her first two graphic memoirs: French Milk and Relish.

The basics: In An Age of License, Knisley recounts her European book tour.

My thoughts: An Age of License is somewhat reminiscent of French Milk, as it's a travelogue and takes the form of her travel diary. While food is a frequent theme in this graphic memoir, as it is always is in Knisley's work, the emphasis here is more on life and reality. Even as Knisley enjoys her trek across Europe, there's a seriousness, and even a darkness, to this memoir.

Knisley's most recent long-term relationship recently ended. She still loves him, but she wants kids (one day), and he doesn't. As someone who didn't want kids for many years, and then was ambivalent about having kids for many more, I fully appreciate this tension. Disagreement about children trumps love. As Knisley rebounds from the end of this relationship, she tries to date again, and she writes with a frankness about love, sex, and attraction that I respect and appreciate.

Another theme in this memoir is her financial stress. As such a successful cartoonist and graphic memoirist, it's sobering to see Knisley struggle financially. Again, she writes (and draws) about her financial issues with a frankness I admire and appreciate. This trip isn't an escapist vacation travelogue of excess; Knisley doesn't leave her problems or stress behind on this journey, yet there are beautiful moments of joy, hope, and relaxation that make this memoir not be a stressful one to read.

The verdict: I adored An Age of License, as I have adored all of Knisley's work. It's fascinating to watch her grow as a writer as I continue to live vicariously through her graphic memoirs. My favorite moments of this one may be her explaining her need to write and draw about her experiences, and how that impacts those who are in her life.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Length: 208 pages
Publication date: September 22, 2014
Source: publisher

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy An Age of License from Amazon (no Kindle edition.)

Want more? Visit Lucy Knisley's website, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

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