An Age of License by Lucy Knisley
Review by Lauren
source: copy from library; all opinions are my own
Official Summary: Acclaimed cartoonist Lucy Knisley (French Milk, Relish) got an opportunity that most only dream of: a travel-expenses-paid trip to Europe/Scandinavia, thanks to a book tour. An Age of License is Knisley’s comics travel memoir recounting her charming (and romantic!) adventures.
It’s punctuated by whimsical visual devices (such as a “new experiences” funnel); peppered with the cute cats she meets along the way; and, of course, features her hallmark—drawings and descriptions of food that will make your mouth water. But it’s not all kittens and raclette crepes: Knisley’s experiences are colored by anxieties, introspective self-inquiries, and quotidian revelations—about traveling alone in unfamiliar countries, and about her life and career—that many young adults will relate to.
Review: I have read Knisley’s graphic memoir Relish and immediately fell in love with her whimsical drawings and fun stories. When I saw An Age of License at the library, I knew I had to check it out. This is one of those books that you can easily read in a day, but it’s also something to look back on and ponder. Knisley is growing up and dealing with big decisions in her life.
This book chronicles a trip to Europe, where she talks about the food and the fun she had, but she also thinks about her relationships and her career. She is lucky to have a job she loves, where she can draw and create stories, but it’s not always easy and there is always the fear of ‘what comes next?’ At the same time, everyone needs to live their life for them, go on adventures, fall in and out of love, and essentially…give yourself license to experience the world before truly settling down.
I refer to this book as a graphic memoir but it doesn’t look like a traditional graphic novel. Instead, the book is full of colored drawings, with a story weaved around it in a scrapbook style. Reading Knisley’s books make me wish I had the ability to draw so I could capture moments in my life the way she does.
In all, I know that I will read more by Knisley. She currently has two other graphic memoirs that I must read (French Milk, Displacement).