Saturday, May 8, 2010

59 - Stitches; David Small

















Was your childhood less than perfect?  Was your mother or father, or both, oftentimes emotionally or physical cruel, or maybe they were just absent when you needed them most? Well, if your initial answer to any of these questions is yes, you may want to read this book, and rethink your childhood.  It is likely that you will be glad that your parents were not like David Smalls.

In Stitches, a memoir of the author's dysfunctional childhood, the author tells his painful story. He mostly by uses powerful (black and white) illustrations, and perfectly chosen words, to tell his dark and haunting story.

David's father was a Radiologist, and an angry man who rarely spoke.  His mother suffered from depression and mood swings. While his older brother Ted took out his anger on a drum,  David just got sick....real sick.  His grandmother was also cruel, and David experienced some of that first hand when his mother and he went to visit. His mother told David that his great grandmother was a petty thief. But there is so much more.........

Without going into the details of David's story and his illness, there was one quote in particular that stayed with me. When David was about 14, he came home from the hospital after some serious surgery and states:

"Back at home all was the same! Dad never there except occasionally for one of Mother's dry, burned little meals; mother coiled tight inside her shell of angry, resentful silence; my brother in his, and I in mine".

There are a lot more details revealed to David's story, and that of his family as well.  This is a book to experience for yourself. Since the author is an artist, the illustrations in this graphic novel are very powerful and paint a very clear picture for the reader.  I have never read a graphic novel before, but I must say that this was the perfect way to tell such a story.  I can see why this book was a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award.  It is a quick read, and it is certainly a rare memoir. 

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - 5/5 stars (Library Book)

27 comments:

  1. Terrific review, Diane! I would like to "read" this one. Another graphic novel I'm interested in is Blankets.

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  2. I, too, am seeing the graphic novel as a powerful new genre to engage young readers. Glad to read this enthusiastic review.

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  3. That looks excellent. I'm a big fan of graphic novels and this one just went on my list.

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  4. This sounds really harrowing!

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  5. Isn't David's story amazing? You wonder how people can survive a childhood like that and turn out "normal."

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  6. This has been on my tbr list for a while. Nice review, Diane. Makes me want to move it up the list!

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  7. This one is not just on my TBR list, but on the nightstand....

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  8. I've heard wonderful things about this book. When I first started reading graphic novels a few months ago and asked for recommendations this book kept coming up over and over. It is already on my list and I'm looking forward to a powerful reading experience.

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  9. Diane, don't know if you've seen this yet or not but it's pretty cool, I think the music fits the book trailer perfectly! It includes a little bonus background info read by David Small himself.

    I'll link your review to mine, glad to know you liked Stitches as well as I did!

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  10. I must read this. I saw it a while back in the store but I wasn't sure if it was going to be much for a graphic novel. Thank you for your awesome review which has convinced me.

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  11. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one as I've heard mixed reviews. I think, though, as I am trying to read more graphic novels in general, that this is just one that HAS to be on my list! It seems like it does a lot for the genre, and so I'm interested in reading it.

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  12. I have this on my TBR and am glad to see you recommend it! This book sounds great!

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  13. I am so glad you liked Stitches! I liked it more than I thought I would, and I have to say the images were probably what did it!

    And Suko commented that she's interested in Blankets.. I have to say that Blankets was my very first intro into graphic novels a few years back and I was surprised and amazed at how wonderful the story was. Another good choice in graphic novel reading!

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  14. Susan...I need to check out "Blankets". Thanks for the recommendation.

    Kathy, yes what a story -- amazing indeed.

    Paul, Michelle, Caitlin, Bethany, Mary, Kathleen, Bibliophiliac, Jess, Aths, Aarti and Suzanne.....you need to try this quick read soon. You will be amazed.

    Wanda, Wanda, Thanks so much for linking to my review. Your review was terrific. Thank for linking the trailer as well, I had not seen that before.

    I never imagined that I would like a graphic novel.

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  15. ... and onto the list it goes! Thanks, Diane.

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  16. This was a powerful read for me too!!! I'm glad that you dipped your toes into the graphic novel pond!!!

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  17. I've seen a lot of rave reviews abou this graphic novel so I'm definitely checking this out!

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  18. I have heard that this is a haunting and very powerful book, and I am glad that you gave it a thumbs up because I really want to read this one. It sounds awesome, so I am going to have to hurry up and grab my copy soon!! Great review!

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  19. I can't wait to read this one! It will be my intro into graphic novels, but I've heard so much good stuff. Glad to hear you liked it too!

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  20. This was (and still is) my first graphic novel too. That grandma really scared me!

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  21. Fantastic review, Diane. I need to get my hands on this book.

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  22. This is on my summer reading list. I can't wait to read it. Enjoyed your review!

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  23. I loved this book! Glad you liked it too.

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  24. Once I recover from Dead End Gene Pool I'll take a look at this book. I've never read a graphic novel before but can only handle so much dysfunction in a week (smile).

    Aloha from Rob

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  25. I thought this was a very good graphic novel as well. In general, I was surprised to enjoy the genre when I began reading them a couple years ago.

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  26. Yeah, David's family was pretty messed up. It's interesting that you say his dad was angry. I didn't really get that impression when I read it. I wrote my own review of the book, which you can read here if you'd like.

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