A Memoir

Small, David

(Book - 2009)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The prize-winning children's author depicts a childhood from hell in this searing yet redemptive graphic memoir. 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 throat cancer and was expected to die. Small, a prize-winning children's author, re-creates a life story that might have been imagined by Kafka. Readers will be riveted by his journey from speechless victim, subjected to X-rays by his radiologist father and scolded by his withholding and tormented mother, to his decision to flee his home at sixteen with nothing more than dreams of becoming an artist. Recalling Running with Scissors with its ability to evoke the trauma of a childhood lost, Stitches will transform adolescent and adult readers alike with its deeply liberating vision.
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Co., c2009
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 0393068579
Branch Call Number: GN 741.6092 SMALL 2009
Characteristics: 329 p. :,chiefly ill. ;,24 cm


From Library Staff

When David Small was fourteen-years-old, he 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. This is the story of his descent into adolescent hell and the di... Read More »

In this beautifully illustrated memoir, David Small recounts the story of his young life when a devastating illness, and worse than negligent parents stunt his growth.

Small portrays his difficult childhood in perceptive pen and ink. Publisher's Weekly called Stitches subtle, powerful, and profound.

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Oct 05, 2014
  • Mark_Daly rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

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.

“Stitches” is author David Small’s memoir. The novel begins with David as a sickly child who later finds out that he is ill with cancer, which is effecting his throat. David goes into surgery, and wakes up with one vocal cord removed. David runs away from home at sixteen and must live by himself with nothing more than a dream of becoming an artist. The novel details David’s road to recovery, as well as the emotional abuse he suffers from the hands of his parents.
This novel is a graphic novel. The artwork and writing are done by David Small himself, and are both interesting. The images carry the story, helping to bring it life, and the story itself is easy to understand. The artwork is lovely, and never falters or becomes sloppy. Readers will find that their hearts go out for David, and that they wish the best for him. The writing for the story is unique yet simple, and combined with the art, portrays emotion well. “Stitches” is a refreshingly new graphic novel that does not have the normal action that has become a comic book staple.
Overall, “Stitches” is a nice pleasure read. This novel would not be a good choice as an essay book or a ‘book talk’, as there are no hidden meanings, but would be a pleasant read if you want to ‘turn your mind off’ a bit. “Stitches” is suitable for ages twelve and up, as there are no scary moments or inappropriate subjects. Overall, the author of this review does recommend “Stitches”.

Aug 29, 2014
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Award-winning picture book illustrator David Small recalls his painful childhood in this luminous graphic novel. The atmospheric, gripping drawings and sparse text tell his heart-wrenching and ultimately redemptive story of surviving cancer and a dysfunctional family.

May 19, 2014
  • KateHillier rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

In David Small's house no one talks about issues. They manifest in certain ways but words are never really used. Father is absent, mother slams doors and coughs, David draws and does other things to act out. This intensifies when an operation leaves him essentially mute. Of course no one tells him why the operation had to happen in the first place. He finds that out later and then sits on it for a good long while.

In stark black and white, and grey, David's family life is sketched out and even at the end there is quite a lot unspoken. Even considering the point of view of a child being used.

Jan 20, 2014
  • joywolf83 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

the picture form really told the story. i thought it was powerful in the use of comic. good autobiography with strong points of interest.

Apr 27, 2013
  • VahiniG rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I just heard of David Small, from watching a documentary on children's literature. This was a great graphic novel. So easy to read and left me wanting more!

Apr 05, 2013
  • JCLBethanyT rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

David Small demonstrates the power of graphic fiction in this meditation on family, illness and voicelessness. Readers who enjoy Alison Bechdel's graphic fiction exploring familial dysfunction will love this National Book Award Finalist.

Jul 22, 2012
  • TheMadTabby rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A memoir of a dysfunctional childhood, very disturbing but very honest. Emotionally heart wrenching, Small's childhood will disturb some people. Unfortunately too many people grow up in families like this.

Jul 03, 2012
  • emkeller rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Small packs a ton of emotion into this memoir. A sad, sometimes awful look into the pain that parents can channel to their children.

Jul 04, 2011
  • Zewy rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Read *Stitches*, by David Small. Heartbreaking graphic novel (more pictures than words, but still I consider it having been "read.") This man is such a genius with his scraggedy lines and half-drawn figures.... just beautiful and poignant. (If you have not read it, his graphic novel Blankets is much the same!)

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Jul 22, 2012
  • TheMadTabby rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

TheMadTabby thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Nov 21, 2011
  • marishkajuko rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

marishkajuko thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Apr 05, 2011
  • ChocolateChips rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

ChocolateChips thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Jul 26, 2010
  • seaspirit rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

seaspirit thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


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