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Stitches: A Memoirby David Small
Synopses & 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-creates this terrifying event in a life story that might have been imagined by Kafka. As the images painfully tumble out, one by one, we gain a ringside seat at a gothic family drama where David—a highly anxious yet supremely talented child—all too often became the unwitting object of his parents’ buried frustration and rage.
Believing that they were trying to do their best, David’s parents did just the reverse. Edward Small, a Detroit physician, who vented his own anger by hitting a punching bag, was convinced that he could cure his young son’s respiratory problems with heavy doses of radiation, possibly causing David’s cancer. Elizabeth, David’s mother, tyrannically stingy and excessively scolding, ran the Small household under a cone of silence where emotions, especially her own, were hidden.
Depicting this coming-of-age story with dazzling, kaleidoscopic images that turn nightmare into fairy tale, Small tells us of his journey from sickly child to cancer patient, to the troubled teen whose risky decision to run away from home at sixteen—with nothing more than the dream of becoming an artist—will resonate as the ultimate survival statement.
A silent movie masquerading as a book, Stitchesrenders a broken world suddenly seamless and beautiful again. Finalist for the 2009 National Book Award (Young Adult); finalist for two 2010 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards (Best Writer/Artist: Nonfiction; Best Reality-Based Work).
The #1 New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist that "breaks new ground for graphic novels" (Francois Mouly, art editor, The New Yorker).
David Small, a best-selling and highly regarded children's book illustrator, comes forward with this unflinching graphic memoir. Remarkable and intensely dramatic, Stitches tells the story of a fourteen-year-old boy who awakes one day from a supposedly harmless operation to discover that he has been transformed into a virtual mute—a vocal cord removed, his throat slashed and stitched together like a bloody boot. From horror to hope, Small proceeds to graphically portray an almost unbelievable descent into adolescent hell and the difficult road to physical, emotional, and artistic recovery.
A National Book Award finalist; winner of the ALA's Alex Award; a #1 New York Times graphic bestseller; Publishers Weekly and Washington Post Top Ten Books of the Year, Los Angeles Times Favorite Book, ALA Great Graphic Novels, Booklist Editors Choice Award, Huffington Post Great Books of 2009, Kirkus Reviews Best of 2009, Village Voice Best Graphic Novel, finalist for two 2010 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards (Best Writer/Artist: Nonfiction; Best Reality-Based Work).
Praise for Stitches:
'David Small presents us with a profound and moving gift of graphic literature that has the look of a movie and reads like a poem. . . . We know that we are in the hands of a master."Jules Feiffer, Pulitzer Prize'"winning cartoonist
'David Small"s Stitchesis aptly named. With surgical precision, the author pierces into the past and, with great artistry, seals the wound inflicted on a small child by cruel and unloving parents. Stitches is as intensely dramatic as a woodcut novel of the silent movie era and as fluid as a contemporary Japanese manga. It breaks new ground for graphic novels."Franoise Mouly, art editor, The New Yorker,and editorial director, TOON Books
'David Small evokes the mad scientific world of the 1950s beautifully. Small is an innocent lamb, a sensitive boy, caught in a nightmare situation. Capturing body language and facial expressions subtly, Stitchesbecomes in Small"s skillful hands a powerful story, an emotionally charged autobiography."Robert Crumb, author of The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb
'In Stitches, David Small, one of our most gifted storytellers, exposes the deepest part of a painful youth'"as cathartic and disturbing as memoirs get. This one will resonate long after you put it down."Harry Bliss, cover artist for The New Yorker
'Add David Small"s book to the illustrated bible of artists who have had to will themselves'"invent themselves'"and ultimately seize success as the only way to keep the gritty, dark beginning of a home life from snuffing them out altogether."Jack Gantos, author of Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, finalist for the National Book Award
About the Author
David Small is the recipient of the Caldecott Medal, the 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 and his wife, the writer Sarah Stewart, live in Michigan.
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