Lee's Reviews > Stitches

Stitches by David Small
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Dec 07, 11

Read on December 06, 2011

Such strange compressions of time: 24 years of the most significant moments in the author's life laid out in comparatively spare, sane, elegant, mature, b&w drawings (compared to the work of many other leading graphic artists) over 329 pages that surely took years to complete, read in an "enjoyable" hour, immersed in that sort of cinematic bookishness that comes from turning pages so much more quickly than those covered in text. A great passage of pages where the kid-aged author dives through a drawing and down a tunnel through the floor that leads to a secret hideout of cartoon mice and heroes and such. The b&w drawings work well to depict thriving old Detroit and domestic tension expressed as clenched silence. As fiction, the story's a bit much in terms of '60s-era Midwestern repression but thankfully this is memoir, another coming-of-age portrait of the artist in several hundred frames. It's affecting but sometimes it may have poured too much poignancy (pages of rain) on me. It's novel length but there's nothing particularly novelistic about it. It feels more like a story, in terms of length and depth. But still I'd recommend it for brief immersion in the sort of characteristically sucky childhood that -- without fail, apparently -- turns a child into the sort of artist who eventually publishes an excellent (if in this case at times a somewhat hasty/thin-seeming) pictional memoir.

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Edmund Davis-Quinn I think he was playing it safe compared to books like "Fun House."


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