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Stitches: A Memoir (2009)

by David Small

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,7701677,182 (4.15)204
The prize-winning children's author depicts a childhood fromhell in this searing yet redemptive graphic memoir. One day David Small awoke from a supposedly harmless operationto discover that he had been transformed into a virtual mute. Avocal cord removed, his throat slashed and stitched together like abloody boot, the fourteen-year-old boy had not been told that hehad throat cancer and was expected to die. Small, a prize-winningchildren's author, re-creates a life story that might have beenimagined by Kafka. Readers will be riveted by his journey fromspeechless victim, subjected to X-rays by his radiologist fatherand scolded by his withholding and tormented mother, to hisdecision to flee his home at sixteen with nothing more than dreamsof becoming an artist. Recalling Running with Scissors withits ability to evoke the trauma of a childhood lost,Stitches will transform adolescent and adult readers alikewith its deeply liberating vision.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 164 (next | show all)
Really good. Another brilliant graphic novel memoir thing. Up there with Fun Home. ( )
  mjhunt | Jan 22, 2021 |
A sad, almost tragic life story saved only by the author's artistic expression. Jesus, I feel for David. Isolation, abuse (active and passive), desperation... sadness, anger... all those universal experiences, but given a feel almost like a hero's origin story, via the truly effective art.

This is a starkly told, beautifully illustrated story about David Small's childhood experience. Everything ends up leading to, swirling around, or being effected by David's illness and surgery as a young teen.

I came across this for free and I'm very happy that I did so. ( )
  James_Patrick_Joyce | Oct 24, 2020 |
I'm clearly in the minority here, but I just didn't like this book at all. I'm not averse to a depressing sort of memoir; I liked [a:Helen Forrester|51793|Helen Forrester|http://www.goodreads.com/images/nophoto/nophoto-U-50x66.jpg]'s books about her life and also [b:Angela's Ashes|252577|Angela's Ashes|Frank McCourt|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1173155771s/252577.jpg|2883783], and neither of those is a bucket of sunshine. I don't think it was the art that turned me off either, I actually thought the gray tones and twisty style complimented the story really well.

I guess... I don't know. Oh well. At least it was a quick read. ( )
  bookbrig | Aug 5, 2020 |
Whoa. This story is RAW. David's parents don't tell him that he has cancer, just that he's having a small surgery and he wakes up with his vocal cords removed. This one is really intense. ( )
  BethParker | Jul 27, 2020 |
David Small was born with breathing problems. As a child, he was treated by his father, the radiologist, with x-rays to help his asthma back before doctors realized the danger in radiation exposure. A growth developed on his neck and was left untreated for many years. When he finally went in for a simple operation to remove the growth, he ended up having two operations and leaving the hospital without one of his vocal cords. David was forced into a world of silcence where he screamed to try and make his voice heard. Turns out, his father had unintentionally given David cancer with his x-ray treatment. What made things worse is neither his father or mother wanted to admit that David had cancer.

This is a beautifully drawn story in black and white images. David Small's parents were out of touch, almost cruel. To a child needing love and attention, they were cruel and unloving. Small recreates these feelings and expressions perfectly on the page. In simple pictures, he manages to convey his feelings to the reader. He makes the scar from the surgery seem huge and domineering and scary.

This was a moving novel. Although it wasn't told in the traditional manner, I can't imagine David Small's autobiography being told any other way. A definite must read.
( )
  melrailey | Apr 7, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 164 (next | show all)
Too much setup, not enough payoff.
 
It is one thing for an artist to credit his career choice to an unhappy youth in which opportunities for self-expression were perpetually stifled, and quite another for an artist to say that his parents literally took his voice from him. That, however, is the story of David Small’s life as he tells it in “Stitches,” a graphic memoir, which comes out this week.
 
Graphic in every sense of the word, Small's masterfully drawn memoir will arrest readers from the very first cell.
added by Shortride | editKirkus (Jun 15, 2009)
 
The shaded artwork, composed mostly of ink washes, is both evocative and beautifully detailed.
added by Katya0133 | editSchool Library Journal, Francisca Goldsmith
 
Like other “important” graphic works it seems destined to sit beside—think no less than Maus—this is a frequently disturbing, pitch-black funny, ultimately cathartic story whose full impact can only be delivered in the comics medium, which keeps it palatable as it reinforces its appalling aspects.
added by Katya0133 | editBooklist, Ian Chipman
 

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The prize-winning children's author depicts a childhood fromhell in this searing yet redemptive graphic memoir. One day David Small awoke from a supposedly harmless operationto discover that he had been transformed into a virtual mute. Avocal cord removed, his throat slashed and stitched together like abloody boot, the fourteen-year-old boy had not been told that hehad throat cancer and was expected to die. Small, a prize-winningchildren's author, re-creates a life story that might have beenimagined by Kafka. Readers will be riveted by his journey fromspeechless victim, subjected to X-rays by his radiologist fatherand scolded by his withholding and tormented mother, to hisdecision to flee his home at sixteen with nothing more than dreamsof becoming an artist. Recalling Running with Scissors withits ability to evoke the trauma of a childhood lost,Stitches will transform adolescent and adult readers alikewith its deeply liberating vision.

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W.W. Norton

2 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393068579, 0393338967

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