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)