3.5 stars. This is my third Knisley graphic memoir (and I have Something New and French Milk on my nightstand). An Age of License was perfectly enjoyable, but after the surprise and delight of Relish and near perfection of Displacement, it pales a bit in comparison. I have a sneaking suspicion it might have hit me with more impact if I had read it just a few years ago when I was younger and dealing with the same kinds growing pains.
Like Displacement, this is a travelogue. It takes place with Lucy in her late twenties, grappling with a break-up and dealing with the uncertainty of her twentysomething years. She’d been invited to take part in a Norwegian comics festival and then decided to extend the trip to visit her new fling in Sweden, friends honeymooning in Germany, an old friend working in France, and Lucy’s mother vacationing in France with her three friends in tow. At the beginning of the book, Lucy says, “What I really love about travel is that it takes us outside ourselves. It unhomes you and allows you to see possibilities for change, growth and a new life.”
In An Age of License, we get to see what Lucy gets up to on her travels through Europe, but she goes deeper than just a normal journal would. She really gets into the way travel helps her make sense of her life and figure out what she wants for her future.
If you haven’t read Lucy Knisley, you MUST. All three books have been a complete delight and her style of drawing is beautiful and functional. She’s really working at the top her game and her strength as a storyteller only grows from one book to another.