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Stitches

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  19,710 Ratings  ·  2,619 Reviews
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 cancer and was expected to die.

In Stitches, Small, the award-winning children’s illustrator and author, re-crea
...more
Hardcover, 329 pages
Published September 8th 2009 by W. W. Norton & Company
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Shira Adults or older teens. I can't imagine younger teens enjoying it, unless you know really somber, mature ones.

Community Reviews

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Carol
Apr 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: illustrated
My Goodness. Horrendously cruel and unloving parents, a nasty grandma, lies and a shocking surprise lead to a nightmare of a memoir and rather disturbing, but powerful work of graphic art.

STITCHES is aptly named with creepy book cover and illustrations to match dipicting a horror of a family and a sad child turned troubled teen.

"When you have no voice, you don't exist."

Interesting and unusual medical reveal about David's mother at the conclusion.

Jan Philipzig
Sep 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Not sure how David Small's Stitches passed me by when originally published back in 2009 - I guess there are just too many fascinating comics coming out these days for me to keep up. Luckily, a few days ago I came across the title in a GR list of comic-book memoirs and finally ordered it from the library: what a revelation! Told in a sparse and subtle yet fluid and emotionally charged style, Small's coming-of-age memoir is as devastating as it is cathartic - the kind of book that stays with you l ...more
 ~Geektastic~
If it were up to me, all biographies and memoirs would be written in graphic novel form. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, The Complete Maus, The Complete Persepolis, Blankets ; these are all near-perfect expressions of personal and familial experience. The power of imagery saves the subject matter from being bogged down by the excessively wordy, self-justifying tendencies of some, and the oblique, pseudo-poetic drivel of others. The best graphic novel memoirs and biographies seem to combat these t ...more
Lyn
Aug 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Wow.

David Small’s graphic novel Stitches is unlike any graphic novel book I have ever read. There are no zombies, no superheroes and no arcane or occult subjects at all, and yet my jaw dropped more than once.

It took me about an hour to get to the end and it was riveting. This reminds me of what a storyboard for an Augusten Burroughs film might look like. Very much worth the very minimal investment in time to experience.

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Raeleen Lemay
Jan 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
*4.5*

WOW. This was a very quick read, but a very interesting one!

The art was all in black and white, and looked like it was painted in watercolor paint, which was super cool! The transitions were incredible, and the ending of the book blew me away. Highly recommend.
Oriana
book #6 for Jugs & Capes!!

Holy motherfuck, this book is intense. It's a real fast read, despite its intimidating heft. And it's just terribly devastating—powerful and aching and sparse and horribly beautiful, and oh also did I mention that it's terribly devastating?

I mean, not devastating in an irredeemable way, like those maudlin mass-market bestsellers where everyone dies slowly & tragically while staring meaningfully into their loved ones' eyes and gently speaking words of unbearabl
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Mariah
Nov 19, 2016 rated it liked it
This book was an interesting graphic novel. There weren't many words, so I got through it very fast! I enjoyed his picture la and the fact that this was a memoir! He had a very hard life!!

However, I struggled with the transitions between fantasy and his dreams and reality and the true story. This left me, at many times, confused and that is why I only gave the book 3 stars.
Lindsey Rey
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is officially my favorite graphic memoir! Loved it so much!
Mariah
Mar 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was an interesting graphic novel. There weren't many words, so I got through it very fast! I enjoyed his picture a lot and the fact that this was a memoir! He had a very hard life!!

However, I struggled with the transitions between fantasy and his dreams and reality and the true story. This left me, at many times, confused and that is why I only gave the book 3 stars.
Jackie "the Librarian"
Aug 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Back in the 50's, people did NOT talk about issues. Everything was internalized - unhappiness, anger, resentment were all swallowed. When illustrator David Small was a boy, he felt all those repressed feelings, even though they weren't spoken. His mother's little cough, his father's absences, all spoke volumes.

He internalized his own feelings, of not feeling loved or wanted, but they manifested physically as asthma and sinus troubles, exacerbated by the smoke from the nearby factories, and his o
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MJ Nicholls
Understated and elegiac inkery. Strictly from the misery memoir staple, grainy and grotty, but not gratuitous. Cinematic panels opening up wistful wounds and profound childhood emptiness. The graphic novel is almost alone among contemporary art/fiction in capturing that peculiar form of youthful Weltschmerz.
Maggie Stiefvater
Jul 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people new to graphic novels
Recommended to Maggie by: Ian from Booklist
Shelves: adult, recommended
I am not going to tell you anything about this book.

I'm sure you're thinking that's an odd way to begin a review, but that's how I went into this book, and it worked for me. I was doing an interview with Booklist last weekend and I asked the interviewer what he thought was the graphic novel of the year so far. Without even having to consider, he said, "STITCHES." My publicist picked an advanced review copy up for me at ALA and I am thrilled that she did. I didn't know anything about it except t
...more
Sam Quixote
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
David Small's childhood wasn't a happy one. His mother was cold, emotionless, and brutal toward him. His father was distant and barely spoke to him. His brother was around but just barely. Nobody spoke to one another. Then we find out about their tormented inner lives. His mother was a closet homosexual while his father was numbed by the knowledge that he had given David cancer through x-rays. His grandmother was an insane person who tried to murder her husband by burning the house down and his ...more
Melki
Wow! What a heartrending look at children's book writer/illustrator David Small's sad and miserable childhood!

We see him first as a small boy, lying on the floor, happily drawing pictures.
His dad is mostly absent, and his mother, well, let's face it...she's HORRIBLE! Verbally and physically abusive, she's a monster.
But as this graphic novel, done in muted shades of gray suggests, not everything is black and white.
After spending some time with David's grandmother, his mother's mother, we get so
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Shawn Mooney
May 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
Whoever would've thought I'd be so deeply moved by a graphic memoir? My bibliophile buddy Lindy, that's who! I am grateful for the recommendation, as I'd adopted a rather snooty attitude towards graphic novels, etc. While I don't expect to start reading them all that much more regularly, I certainly get it now that they can convey powerful narratives like this one. Just wonderful!
Lee
Jun 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
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 throug ...more
Suad Shamma
May 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2015, graphic-novels
I was highly impressed with this book, way more than I thought I would be. When I bought it, it was on a whim. I had never heard of David Small, I don't know who he is or what he does. I was taken in by the cover, the fact that it was a memoir written in graphic novel style, and with a quick skim through it I knew I liked the artist's style and would enjoy the story.

This isn't a happy story, it's quite dark, and you can't help but think it must be fiction. This can't actually be true. This can'
...more
Tatiana
Jan 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a very strong graphic novel. No superheroes here, just a very emotional memoir about a child growing up in a deeply dysfunctional family but who manages to overcome the damages that had been inflicted upon him by his relatives. A very, very unhappy family depicted here. And David is not very forgiving either.

I do not recommend reading the plot summary printed on the dust jacket. It gives the entire story away.

If you like Stitches, you will probably like Blankets too.
Stacy268
Nov 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Heart breaking.

I read this last night and was left very pensive. Once wakened by my daughter around 1am, Small's story would not leave my brain. Upon reflection I think I will be haunted by this one for a long time.
Agnė
Aug 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone, really!
Recommended to Agnė by: Read and Meet Book Club
WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

David Small's "Stitches" is a gloomy and harrowing memoir written as a graphic novel. The story brings us back to the author’s childhood and lets us “in a house where silence reigned and free speech was forbidden.” Although David wasn’t beaten or starved (not too often, anyways), the extreme lack of love and communication from his parents left deep scars, even deeper than a stitched up gash across his throat. And how did he get that gash? Oh, at the age of fourteen he had a surg
...more
Vanessa
Dec 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
I picked this graphic novel up on a whim when I saw it in my local library. I like checking out relatively unheard of and independent graphic novels, and the concept of this illustrated memoir appealed to me.

David Small depicts his childhood and adolescence living in a family where emotions are not shown, anger rules, and he is subjected to various x-rays and doses of radiation by his physician father in an attempt to cure is respiratory problems. Unfortunately this led to his developing cancer,
...more
Kelly
Oct 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
Woo wee, this memoir had some bite to it, to be sure. Picking this one up, I was not sure if it would consitute as 'creepy' as everyone has said it is. It's worse. Stitches is creepy and affecting. The story of David Small's childhood kept me up at night, with me pondering over him being mentally scarred or not. The pictures are 'simplistic' yet arresting. Check this one out.
Jeanette
Apr 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Oh boy! Yesterday in picking up some library material- I found this graphic book on the librarian's "special" shelf. I usually take one of those without reading a word about every other month. They stick oversize rec's (cards) in them written by the named librarian and why they liked it. This one was a graphic and I have not read many- so in the book bag it went. The cover was a orange/peach too and the adults looked like Dr. Seuss people, although from a Stephen King village. So what could go w ...more
Bob Redmond
Jul 12, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphica
The story: a boy suffers from the worst kind of neglect, in a truly screwed up family situation. It probably won't spoil the story to say that he loses his voice through an operation (hence the title). It's a memoir.

The background: the author would eventually become a renowned illustrator of children's books.

My notes: the book is goregously illustrated in black inks and watercolors. The prose is spare, and the story minimal. Amist the flood of memoirs published in recent years, this one has to s
...more
Ken
Oct 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I bought with the intent of putting it in my classroom library, but I don't think I'm brave enough -- at least not for 8th graders. Mon Dieu, David Small's graphic memoir ("graphic" as in cartoon) includes titties and men's "things" and a Jesus talking from his crucifix (as one might expect, he was cross). The coup de grâce, though, comes in the form of a panel showing a neighbor lady getting out of bed with his mother (he stumbled into the bedroom at an inopportune moment -- that is, when he st ...more
Jennifer
Jul 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
This evocative graphic novel, replete with themes of loss, anger, pain and hope, is bound to resonate with readers in much the same way that
Craig Thompson’s Blankets does. Small’s memoir mirrors the helplessness children and adolescents often feel as pawns in world ruled by adults with their own dysfunctional baggage, and beautifully illustrates the truism that everyone eventually grows up and is rewarded with the chance to develop their own identity separate from the people who raised them. Als
...more
UConnCo-op
Jun 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel
Imogene's Antlers by David Small has always been one of my favorite childrens books so I was eager to read his graphic memoir Stitches, but not prepared for the intensity of it. With drawings and spare words, he relives his troubled childhood with his frighteningly unhappy mother and physician father. After X-Ray treatments from his father, he develops cancer at the age of 14 but no one tells him. He awakes from surgery scarred, mute, and confused about what happened and why. At 16 he leaves hom ...more
Skip
Aug 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
David Small tells the story of his childhood and adolescence in a repressive home. Sickly, he is subjected by his physician father to many x-rays, which causes further problems, from which he is shielded. As an only child, David is isolated, without friends, and naturally becomes embittered. I found the book and the monochromatic graphic style kind of depressing.

Mandy
Sep 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Dear Mom and Dad, Our family's never seemed as normal and happy as after I read this book. Love, Mandy
Antonius Block
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: heart-wrenching
Četrnaestogodišnji Dejvid se budi posle bezazlene operacije vrata. Bez polovine glasnih žica, bez tiroide.

Roditelji mu nikad nisu rekli da je imao rak.

Rak izazvan progresivnim zračenjem od strane naprednog oca radiologa koji je bio ubeđen da će time izlečiti njegov kašalj.

Posmatrajući konce na sveže zašivenoj rani koja ga je ostavila nemim, on počinje da rasparava drugu zašivenu ranu - mnogo dublju, i bolniju. Onu porodičnu.
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Mrs. Anderson's E...: Tayten Stringer 1 4 Mar 03, 2016 04:46PM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Stitches by David Small 1 17 Oct 23, 2015 04:34PM  
Goodreads Librari...: PLease add cover 2 11 Apr 21, 2015 08:22AM  
USA Geography Cha...: Stitches by David Small 1 3 Dec 29, 2014 01:33AM  
  • A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge
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  • A Game for Swallows: To Die, to Leave, to Return
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  • The Silence of Our Friends
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  • Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

David Small is the recipient of the Caldecott Medal, a Christopher Medal, and the E. B. White Award for his picture books, which include Imogene's Antlers, The Gardener, and So, You Want to Be President? He lives in Mendon, Michigan.
More about David Small...

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“.... When you have no voice, you don't exist” 24 likes
“The odd thing about recurring dreams is that, no matter how many times you dream the same thing, it always takes you by surprise.” 18 likes
More quotes…