Saturday, January 23, 2010

Stitches Review

Stitches: A Memoir David Small

This graphic novel memoir tells of David Small's early life, how he was often sick and how the treatment at the time-- frequent sinus x-rays, ended up giving him throat cancer, robbing him of his voice. Moreover, it's a look at parents who didn't love each other, and a mother that didn't love him.

What I wanted more of was his story of emotional and mental recovery. The bulk of the book is devoted to his awful childhood, and the end rushes through the explanation of how he overcame that. There's a brief paragraph at the end, where he relates information about his mother that he learned later in life that allows him to be more sympathetic to her. I wanted more of that shown in the book, not just as a note in the back matter. I'm much more interested in stories of overcoming adversity, not stories of a crappy life. Small fulfilled his dreams of becoming an illustrator, but we're not shown or told how. I'm inclined to agree with Tyler Cowen, who says "This much-heralded story of a sick child, mistreated by his parents, struck me as professionally done but pointless."

But, oh, it is so beautifully done. I (think) it's watercolor and pencil, all shades of gray. Here's a (rather low-quality) picture of my favorite panel, showing Small's isolation after the removal of the tumor leaves him voiceless:

It was the art that wouldn't let me put it down.

Book Provided by... my local library

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Margaret Ann Abrahams said...

I hadn't heard of this sad memoir. Great concept - a graphic memoir. Enjoyed vsiting your blog.

GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

I loved this one. It's so powerful and emotional and amazing. I read it on my lunch break and passed it on to co-workers right after. So good!