25 Women to Read Before You Die

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Suzanne Levin has commented on (4) products.

Stitches by David Small

Suzanne Levin, January 21, 2010

A Memoir in Black & White...

Stitches, written and illustrated by David Small, is his coming-of-age story told in graphic novel form. It's David Small's memoir of growing up in a family where his mother "had her little cough", sobbed quietly "out of sight", and slammed the kitchen cabinets to communicate. His father took his frustrations out on a punching bag, and his brother on the drums... and it's the story of the operation that would remove a vocal cord and leave David practically a mute...

There aren't a lot of words in Stitches. There really isn't a lot of need for lengthy prose- David Small's black & white ink drawings tell his story perfectly... I could almost feel his grandmother dragging me up the stairs to bed without supper.. I could feel the terror as he is put through shots, enema's and radiation to cure his boyhood illnesses. His drawings are so expressive and the bird's eye views he chooses to show certain scenes in, make the story a visually treat. They are not pretty pictures, but they are meaningful.

From "sock-skating" on a freshly waxed floor in the hospital his father "the radiologist" worked to finally having the operation to remove that cyst on his neck (which he'd find out later was really cancer caused by all the radiation his father gave him), Stitches takes you on a visual adventure of emotions. You'll get to know his often times cruel & dysfunctional family and feel the pains of growing up. I was surprised how haunted I was after I finished reading Stitches. I felt such pain for David growing up virtually unloved and isolated. This was a good book and one I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to anyone.
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(4 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)

Be with You
Be with You

Suzanne Levin, August 23, 2009

"Soon I won't be with you any longer," Mio says to her 29-year-old husband Takumi, "but when the rainy season returns, I will come back to see how the two of you are getting along." These simple words spoken a week before Mio leaves this world for the world beyond, somehow comforts Takumi, as he struggles to take care of himself and their 5 year old son Yuki. But one year later when the rainy season returns, so does Mio! In a walk thru the woods Takumi & Yuki are stunned to see a confused Mio standing before them. As Takumi calls out to her in disbelief, "Mio?" She asks "Is that my name?" She has no memory.... and Takumi decides then and there that he will lie to her and act as if she's been ill and has lost her memory due to her illness. And of course he's not going to tell her that she is a ghost. Takumi takes Yuki aside in secret and explains to him that they must not let on that she died- so they form a pact to act as normal as possible...

Mio is a bit apprehensive, things just don't seem right somehow... But she wants to know what she's forgotten, Takumi begins to tell her their story, and in simple prose Takumi weaves a most unusual love story that slowly pulls the reader in and slowly makes Mio fall in love all over again with Takumi. In a steady rhythm, and between the present day story, we learn the everyday mundane to the poignant moments that make up this love story. But what may appear to be a romantic ghost story is really much more than that. There is a twist to this story ...the present is the future and has a link to the past... On the surface it appears to be a simple story, but looks are deceiving... Just as we are taking the story for granted, we are suddenly found stirred by that surprising twist. A beautiful story....
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(3 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)

Benny & Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti
Benny & Shrimp

Suzanne Levin, July 24, 2009

A quirky wonderful romance between a 30 something Swedish dairy farmer and a 30 something Swedish librarian with a white couch. What is so delightful about this story is not only how the characters are so down-to-earth and honest, but that every other chapter is written by Benny and then Shrimp describing their perspective on what's going on. They go from detesting eachother to falling in love, and we are privy to their intimate thoughts. Each character is dripping in loneliness, but are both intelligent nice people. The story is touching also as it shows how 2 normal people who are mad for each other are trying to work out all the kinks in a very interesting relationship.
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(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)

Little Bee by Chris Cleave
Little Bee

Suzanne Levin, July 9, 2009

I just finished reading Little Bee by Chris Cleave and feel a small loss for words about what to write. The publishers took a big risk with the promos for this book, they didn't really tell the reader what it was all about - "We don't want to tell you what happens in this book...nevertheless, you need to know enough to buy it" and so they give you a little tidbit about it being "the story of two women whose lives collide one fateful day", but it is so much more than that. First we meet Little Bee and simply fall in love. She is so innocent, but quite insightful. " I wish I was a British pound coin instead of a African girl. Everyone would be pleased to see me coming." Little Bee is a 16 year old Nigerian refugee surviving in a UK immigration detention center. How she came to be in the immigration center is part of the story, as well as how she meets Sarah & Andrew O'Rourke, a young affluent couple from England who were "on Holiday" in Nigeria, very naive to the violence that was raging in the area. Leading up to the tale of violence that links Sarah and Little Bee on that Nigerian beach, we meet a cast of characters from the detention center that will make you laugh and cry at the same time. And it opens your eyes just a bit because you begin to realize that even though this is a fictional book, these detention centers really exist and so do some of the horrors you are reading about. The writing is captivating - and we are drawn into Little Bee's world. We realize how Little Bee is not so different from Sarah. The book is written through both Little Bee and Sarah's voice and towards the end I began forgetting who's voice was speaking to me. The story does not stop at the detention center, and as if their lives were bound by something untouchable on that fateful day, Sarah and Little Bee meet again... I really enjoyed this book! The writing and characters will touch your heart! Make this one of your next reads!
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(10 of 12 readers found this comment helpful)

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