Book Review: Stitches – David Small

Title: Stitches: A Memoir
Author: David Small
ISBN: 9780393068573
Pages: 336
Release Date: September 8, 2009
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
Genre: Memoir, Non-Fiction, Graphic Novel
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary:

In this memoir of his childhood, David Small discusses his relationship with his parents and troubled family life as a young boy.  The book centers on Small’s surgery to remove what he was told was a cyst on his neck.  Unfortunately, the surgery ended up leaving him without a voice when doctors took out one set of his vocal chords.

Review:

Stitches is a moving and emotional memoir about David Small’s childhood, starting from the age of six.  Even from the first pages, it’s obvious that his relationship with his parents isn’t exactly healthy.  My heart couldn’t help but go out to this boy, clearly unloved and neglected by parents that aren’t content with their lot.  Small doesn’t sugarcoat what he experienced.  As a result, his memoir is raw, with a lot of emotional scarring splashed onto its pages.

Though the pivotal moment in this book is Small’s surgery in which he loses the ability to speak, it doesn’t come until halfway through the memoir.  The book as a whole is about not having a voice, but it’s more metaphorical than physical.  From the beginning, Small is struggling to be heard by a family that doesn’t seem to care about what he has to say.  When he loses his voice, it’s just a physical manifestation of something that had been occurring for a long time.  It’s incredible and horribly tragic at the same time.

The graphic memoir format works very well in Stitches.  The art is all black and white, which reveals a bleakness that might not have been as noticeable had the author used color.  Additionally, the book is beautifully drawn.  Small does an incredible job portraying his vivid emotions (especially frustration) through the artwork.  It really adds to the book.

Though this isn’t a short book, the graphic memoir format makes it a very quick read.  If you pick it up, don’t be tempted to rush through it.  The artwork is worthy of careful study, and the story has quite the emotional impact.  It’s a beautifully portrayed book that I highly recommend.

Comments

  1. I’ve heard alot of good about this book, and is currently on its way from the library to my house. I’m not sure I’ll be able to do a better job of reviewing it though – nice job!

  2. I’ve heard alot of good about this book, and is currently on its way from the library to my house. I’m not sure I’ll be able to do a better job of reviewing it though – nice job!

  3. We have this on our library shelves and I really want to read it. I o.d’d on graphic novels for a while there, so thank you for reminding me about this one

  4. We have this on our library shelves and I really want to read it. I o.d’d on graphic novels for a while there, so thank you for reminding me about this one

  5. I really liked this book, too. The graphic memoir format works very well, in my opinion.

  6. I really liked this book, too. The graphic memoir format works very well, in my opinion.

  7. This book sounds intense, and I think that the graphic novel format would make it hard to avoid the the difficult content. I am glad that the author chose a genre that sounds perfect for the story being told.

  8. This book sounds intense, and I think that the graphic novel format would make it hard to avoid the the difficult content. I am glad that the author chose a genre that sounds perfect for the story being told.

  9. I’ve heard many mixed reviews about this one, so I’m glad you liked it so whole-heartedly! I am really enjoying exploring the GN format.

  10. I’ve heard many mixed reviews about this one, so I’m glad you liked it so whole-heartedly! I am really enjoying exploring the GN format.

  11. I have heard a lot of good things about this book. I loved your review and now am going to put this one on my wish list. It does sound sad and a little dark, but it also sounds incredibly interesting and intense. I bet I will love it. Thanks for the wonderful review!

  12. I have heard a lot of good things about this book. I loved your review and now am going to put this one on my wish list. It does sound sad and a little dark, but it also sounds incredibly interesting and intense. I bet I will love it. Thanks for the wonderful review!

  13. Cool!
    I had not heard of this book before, I’ll have to check it out. I love discovering new graphic novels.

  14. Cool!
    I had not heard of this book before, I’ll have to check it out. I love discovering new graphic novels.

  15. i’ve been trying to read more graphic novels lately and hadn’t heard of this one, so thank you! i’ve definitely added it to my wishlist.

  16. i’ve been trying to read more graphic novels lately and hadn’t heard of this one, so thank you! i’ve definitely added it to my wishlist.

  17. I’ve just started reading graphic novels this year. This one was on my list to read in the future. Your review has solidified its position on my list!

  18. I’ve just started reading graphic novels this year. This one was on my list to read in the future. Your review has solidified its position on my list!

  19. This sounds good.

    How have you been?

  20. This sounds good.

    How have you been?

  21. Ooooh, I have this book, so glad you liked it.

  22. Ooooh, I have this book, so glad you liked it.

  23. I need to get to this one soon myself — I’m expecting it to be emotional.

  24. I need to get to this one soon myself — I’m expecting it to be emotional.

  25. I had not heard of this but it sounds really good. I’ve added it to my Goodreads TBR list!

  26. I had not heard of this but it sounds really good. I’ve added it to my Goodreads TBR list!

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