Thursday, December 15, 2011

REVIEW: Stitches

Small, D.  (2009).  Stitches.  New York:  W.W. Norton & Company.

329 pages.

So, you're looking for some nice, speedy, light reading over the winter break?

Stitches is a speedy read, that much is true.  But it is by no means light or nice.  Unless "nice" can be interpreted to mean riveting in a horrified and traumatized-by-proxy kind of way.


My reading buddy, Monica, tackled this graphic novel during a readathon a couple of years ago.  Here's her reaction.

Appetizer:  In this memoir, amazing children's illustrator David Small shares about his dysfunctional childhood.  At six, he and his mother visited his maternal grandmother.  The woman would prove to be unstable.  At eleven, David would begin to develop a growth on his neck that would not be operated on until he was 14-years-old.  The series of surgeries would leave David with only a single vocal chord.  Silenced and living in a house with people who barely speak, Stitches is the story of David finding his voice and avoiding the insanity his mother and grandfather could easily drive him towards.

This memoir is both stunning and moving.  I am forever impressed by Small's illustrations and ability to capture perspective.  But seeing the familiar style of his drawings was that much more disturbing, because as I read, I was repeatedly reminded of Imogene's Antlers, a childhood favorite of mine that is also by him.

The graphic novel repeatedly references Lolita and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.  The allusions to Alice and the white rabbit are particularly wonderful.

Dinner Conversation:

Tasty Rating:  !!!!

Wow, I'm off to find a something with some humor now.

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