Stitches

Stitches

A Memoir

Graphic Novel - 2009
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One day David Small awoke from a supposedly harmless operation to discover that he had been transformed into a virtual mute. A vocal cord removed, his throat slashed and stitched together like a bloody boot, the fourteen-year-old boy had not been told that he had cancer and was expected to die.In Stitches, Small, the award-winning children's illustrator and author, re-creates this terrifying event in a life story that might have been imagined by Kafka. As the images painfully tumble out, one by one, we gain a ringside seat at a gothic family drama where David--a highly anxious yet supremely talented child--all too often became the unwitting object of his parents' buried frustration and rage.Believing that they were trying to do their best, David's parents did just the reverse. Edward Small, a Detroit physician, who vented his own anger by hitting a punching bag, was convinced that he could cure his young son's respiratory problems with heavy doses of radiation, possibly causing David's cancer. Elizabeth, David's mother, tyrannically stingy and excessively scolding, ran the Small household under a cone of silence where emotions, especially her own, were hidden.Depicting this coming-of-age story with dazzling, kaleidoscopic images that turn nightmare into fairy tale, Small tells us of his journey from sickly child to cancer patient, to the troubled teen whose risky decision to run away from home at sixteen--with nothing more than the dream of becoming an artist--will resonate as the ultimate survival statement.A silent movie masquerading as a book, Stitches renders a broken world suddenly seamless and beautiful again. Finalist for the 2009 National Book Award (Young Adult); finalist for two 2010 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards (Best Writer/Artist: Nonfiction; Best Reality-Based Work).
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Co., 2009
ISBN: 9780393068573
Branch Call Number: SMALL
Characteristics: 329 p

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AL_KATI Sep 13, 2017

I was equally horrified and fascinated by this memoir. Dysfunctional family plus crazy medical stuff made this a memoir I read in a single evening.

AL_TINA Jul 31, 2017

A quirky and dark tale of family secrets and dysfunction perfectly suited to the graphic novel format.

TechLibrarian Jun 24, 2017

Looking for a quick read? Or want to try a graphic novel? Stitches is a memoir told in graphic form. Dramatic illustrations give weight to the author's experience, coming of age, fighting cancer, and growing up with two emotionally disconnected parents. Like Are You My Mother and Rosalie Lightning, it shows that graphic novels are an excellent format for exploring psychologically heavy subject matter.

r
ryner
Sep 29, 2016

In his autobiographical graphic novel Stitches, award-winning illustrator David Small reveals his childhood through drawings. From his own serious medical ordeals beginning at the age of eleven, physical and emotional abuse suffered at the hands of his mother and grandmother, and mere survival in a household in which not only is no one happy, but no one is even remotely concerned for his well-being, Small depicts events in a sad, brutally realistic form.

This tragic story of childhood just about broke my heart, and I was relieved to learn that this resilient author ultimately grew up well-adjusted and successful in relationships, career and life (I'm not certain I would have). There is something about cheerless childhoods that is particularly heart-rending, and I was most moved by the portrayal of his cold, resentful mother -- so much that I am more conscious and fearful of instances in which my own mood affects how I interact with my own child, and what an indelible mark it can leave.

Radharc Aug 13, 2016

This book is a brutally honest memoir of David Small growing up in a definitive dysfunctional family. It's not a happy story by any means, but there is plenty within that will stick with the reader long after the final page has been turned.

l
leahasewell
Jun 17, 2016

"I think I'll just read a little bit of this graphic novel before I do the housework," I said. Two hours later, I'd finished it with no breaks, and felt like my life was transformed forever. Read it. Seriously. It's memoir that touches your nerve endings as well as your heart.

m
mcdonakl
Mar 02, 2016

An amazing, honest, sad, touching book. I'm not a big fan of graphic novels, but I am so glad I read this one.

v
vv9
Aug 22, 2015

My first graphic novel. Are they all this sad and awesome? What a powerful way to present the memoir of this talented artist. If you like memoirs, medicine and/or depressing stories about very sad childhoods, invest some time in this book. I was so impressed with the format that I doubt I will read another graphic novel and risk shattering the allure.

t
tania1234
Jan 23, 2015

My first graphic novel. Very sad but triumphant at the end.

Mark_Daly Oct 05, 2014

I avoided this book for years because I had gathered it was a painful story about a horrible family. I'm glad I finally read it. This book is fierce and angry and honest, and it shows you can survive the worst in your life, and face it, and make art out of it. Jules Feiffer says it best in his blurb on the back: "has the look of a movie and reads like a poem". A model for all graphic memoirists to follow.

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RobertELPL Mar 05, 2017

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