In 2010, Lucy Knisley and her boyfriend John broke up. They knew it was coming, as they both wanted different things in their lives, but they still saw each other. Still loved each other. And three years later John proposed. And while their relationship is mixed in as part of their story, it isn’t THE story. Instead it’s the planning of the wedding. You see Lucy didn’t want the big extravagant weddings that you often see. And given that she’s an artist and so many of her friends and family are, she figured what better way to have a wedding than to have friends help make it happen (all either as gifts or paid for of course!) And that is this story.
Like many people, I was first introduced to Lucy Knisley through her travelogue French Milk and I was quickly enthralled. Her simple, yet evocative, line drawings created an entertaining story that made me feel like I was sitting with a good friend, sharing a meal, and listening to their adventures. Since that time I’ve followed her webcomic, supported her Kickstarter for “Here at Hogwarts”, and all of the travelogues and books that she’s written. And each time something new comes out, I find new reasons to love her work.
Like in her previous books, Lucy has no problems taking a close look at her life and sharing intimate parts of it that most people wouldn’t, such as her past relationships and her journey back together with John. And to some people that means that she lives a storybook life. She gets to travel for her job on occasion, she had a fairly privileged upbringing with both parents being fairly well off, and here she gets the guy that she always wanted to be with! Well how dare she! I mean clearly she didn’t work for the jobs where she traveled out of the country and got to participate in adventures that other photographers and reporters did, she just sat there right? Or she has storybook magic romance where they break up and then get back together and that whole relationship thing? Pfff…it didn’t take any work at all to maintain right? Just perfect right out of the box. I mean how dare things work out for her! It’s not like storybook romances are ever based on reality right?
And you get my point right? And why do I address this? Because that’s the beauty of Lucy’s stories. One of the reasons I think people feel so jealous about Lucy’s work is that they can almost see themselves in her life. She’s not a supermodel, she’s not a wealthy heiress or anything like that. Nope, she’s just a down to earth young woman from middle class parents. So it’s a bit easier to feel jealous of someone that you could be. And it’s because Lucy doesn’t try to hide those unflattering moments that so many of us wish we could hide, such as being a brat and rebellious towards are parents. Lucy instead embraces it and share it with us in such a way that we can relate to it and remember our own experiences growing up. And I stress that point because some authors seemingly want nothing more than pity or take such a hard look at themselves they no longer seem human. Lucy’s writing puts us on her level and makes it easy to relate to her and feel like we’re talking with a good friend, which to me is the sign of a great writer.
While the story is fantastic, Lucy’s artwork is even better. The illustrations in this tome (and it is a tome at 300 pages worth of illustrations) give us a real sense of who Lucy and John are. Sure we see some snapshots of them scattered throughout the book, but the illustrations make them come alive. My favorite section is when Lucy is dress shopping and the looks on her face as she tries on dress after dress after dress of ones that aren’t right for her. And when she finally finds the right one, what’s one of the things that gives her the greatest amount of joy about it? IT HAS POCKETS! And the joy is evident in the illustration and makes us glad that she found the dress. I could say more, but why give unnecessary detail? Go check out her work and you’ll be impressed as well.
As you can tell I really enjoy Lucy’s work and I think a y’all will as well. I highly recommend this book. The story is simple, easy to follow, and flows naturally and the artwork is beautiful. And I can’t give it any higher praise than that. I’m really looking forward to her two upcoming works, one on bullying during growing up and the other on giving birth.
ARC provided by Gina at FirstSecond