Stitches, by David Small

Stitches by David Small: Book CoverFinished 6-30-09, rating 4/5, graphic memoir, pub. 2009

David Small is an award winning children’s book illustrator and he shows the horror of his youth in this graphic novel.  His childhood was full of lies, secrets, emotionally distant parents, and illness.  How would you feel if you were told you were taking a routine trip to the hospital only to overhear much later that it had really been cancer surgery?  The story is told with few words, but page after page of stark black and white illustrations perfectly express the sadness of his Detroit upbringing. 

This was my first graphic novel and while I loved the story and artwork, I found that I outread the pictures.  I tried to make myself slow down and take everything in, but it wasn’t easy, it was too easy to keep the pages turning.  But the images stuck with me after the book was done.   The ugliness of his grandmother (inside and out) and the indifferent attitude of both of his parents was shocking and sad.

I really enjoyed this fast read and although I’m not sure when I’ll read  another graphic novel I am happy that I read this one. I want to thank my friend Golda for giving me this book on my trip to New York in June.  I’m giving this dramatic memoir with its haunting artwork a thumbs up.   

This will be released in September 2009.

15 thoughts on “Stitches, by David Small

  1. Mary says:

    I haven’t read a graphic novel yet but will make it a goal before the end of the year. I wonder if it’s typical to “outread” the illustrations. I’m guessing yes. Great review, Stacy!

  2. irene says:

    I’m inching towards graphic novels myself, I’ve never done that but there are so many around my home that I feel the need to be involved. Thanks for the review.

  3. Barbara says:

    I’ve read graphic novels but this one sounds really sad. The pictures can be a bit distracting but they are often gorgeous and just add to the story.

  4. Beth F says:

    I barely skimmed your review. I have this one to read. I like graphic novels and memoirs and so I was really happy to snag this one at BEA this year.

  5. Bumbles says:

    Well I didn’t know that a graphic memoir even existed – and I do love me some memoirs. I have had my nose up in the air over graphic novels because they seem like cheating – and I never was a huge comic book fan so that’s what I associate them with. But if anything would make me pick one up it would be a memoir. So thanks for stirring the idea in my head.

  6. Peter says:

    Hi Stacy! You should definitely read Epileptic by David B. It’s a graphic memoir of a boy and how his family came to terms with his younger brother’s epilepsy.

  7. jean pierre says:

    wow! this sounds really good and very original!

    i reads lots of graphic novel so i’m really pleased that you enjoyed your first one.

    if this is the sort of thing you like you might also like “fun home” by alison bechdel.

  8. Golda says:

    Hooray! Glad you liked it. I do think it’s normal to “outread” the pictures when you are not used to graphic novels. I often have to make myself slow down and “read” the pictures too. I read a great piece in The Horn Book a few years ago on how to read graphic novels and that helped me a lot. It also helps to think of it like a movie – with pictures to set the scene, zoom in & out, etc. I don’t want to sound too much like a sales person – but if anyone’s interested, the author created a book trailer for youtube:

    I finished it in June, but wanted to wait to review it closer to its release date. Thanks for giving me a copy. I’m hoping to get to Wrack & Ruin soon.

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