Lindsey's Reviews > Stitches

Stitches by David Small
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's review
Feb 03, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: graphic-novels, info-bios


Wow. How to summarize this book?

I expected this to be an interesting tale of a boy who dealt with childhood illness, who suffered, but ultimately triumphed. I guess I was partially correct, but that seems to be the side-story here. This story is a memoir of author/illustrator David Small, and is told in graphic novel format. The story begins when David is 6. What we can see right away is that David's mother is an angry woman who is dealing with hardships that we do not know. Because of this his brother and father also seem angry, as well as fairly absent. David is often sick as a child, and his father, a doctor, gives him x-ray after x-ray in attempt to cure him, though this ultimately leads to him getting cancer. All along the way he deals with his parents pretty much neglecting and ignoring him, not telling him what is happening to him. His grandma abuses him, and is later committed to an institution after trying to burn down her house with her husband inside. Furthermore, David walks in on his mother having a secret adulterous lesbian relationship with a friend. In the end he does triumph in the sense that he gets away from his family and doesn't fall prey to their insanity.

The pictures and the text work well to tell this story. There are often a few pages in a row with very little text, yet you always know what is going on, and how people are feeling. White space and cell-size of illustrations are utilized to pace the story and give emphasis and detail at certain points.

I definitely wouldn't recommend this for most students until they are in at least high school. There are mature themes, including neglect and abuse, mental illness, and sexual references. This book could be used to talk about those themes, or anger, illness & recovery, symbolism, parenting, and more. There is a part of me that connects with this book, like it reminds me of something, but I can't quite put my finger on it. It is quite a bit different than the books I usually read, and I don't have any specific textual connections. Interestingly, although it is different from the type of books I usually read, I did enjoy it, and I actually read the 300+ pages in one sitting.

I'm still considering the symbolism of the rabbit (from Alice in Wonderland?) as the psychiatrist. Is this just a statement of how distorted his family life is?
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message 1: by Beverly (new)

Beverly Kennett Lindsey,
I enjoyed reading your review. It gave me a very good picture of this book. I know you didn't read Stephen King's "On Writing" with us in the Teaching Writing class, but your review reminded me of the unbelievable illnesses and medical treatments King endured during his childhood, which ultimately influenced his writing. If you are not required to read his book for your writing class, you might still want to read it on your own.

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