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Stitches

by

Stitches Cover

 

Staff Pick

Small, a Caldecott Medal winner and illustrator of such books as The Gardener and Imogene's Antlers, tells us — no, shows us — the quietly disturbing story of his youth growing up in an emotionally closed-off household while struggling with cancer. The characters are bizarre and shocking, yet still recognizable; the art is beautiful in the way the saddest movies are. Nominated for the 2009 National Book Award for Young People's Literature.
Recommended by Jill S., Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

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Publisher Comments:

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 throat cancer and was expected to die.

Small, a prize-winning children's author, re-creates a life story that might have been imagined by Kafka. Readers will be riveted by his journey from speechless victim, subjected to X-rays by his radiologist father and scolded by his withholding and tormented mother, to his decision to flee his home at sixteen with nothing more than dreams of becoming an artist. Recalling Running with Scissors with its ability to evoke the trauma of a childhood lost, Stitches will transform adolescent and adult readers alike with its deeply liberating vision.

Review:

"In this profound and moving memoir, Small, an award-winning children's book illustrator, uses his drawings to depict the consciousness of a young boy. The story starts when the narrator is six years old and follows him into adulthood, with most of the story spent during his early adolescence. The youngest member of a silent and unhappy family, David is subjected to repeated x-rays to monitor sinus problems. When he develops cancer as a result of this procedure, he is operated on without being told what is wrong with him. The operation results in the loss of his voice, cutting him off even further from the world around him. Small's black and white pen and ink drawings are endlessly perceptive as they portray the layering of dream and imagination onto the real-life experiences of the young boy. Small's intuitive morphing of images, as with the terrible postsurgery scar on the main character's throat that becomes a dark staircase climbed by his mother, provide deep emotional echoes. Some understanding is gained as family secrets are unearthed, but for the most part David fends for himself in a family that is uncommunicative to a truly ghastly degree. Small tells his story with haunting subtlety and power. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Emotionally raw, artistically compelling and psychologically devastating graphic memoir of childhood trauma.... Graphic narrative at its most cathartic." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Review:

"Like other 'important' graphic works it seems destined to sit beside — think no less than Maus — this is a frequently disturbing, pitch-black funny, ultimately cathartic story whose full impact can only be delivered in the comics medium, which keeps it palatable as it reinforces its appalling aspects. If there's any fight left in the argument that comics aren't legitimate literature, this is just the thing to enlighten the naysayers." Booklist

Review:

"David Small evokes the mad scientific world of the 1950s beautifully, a time when everyone believed that science could fix everything.... Capturing body language and facial expressions subtly, Stitches becomes in Small's skillful hands a powerful story, an emotionally charged autobiography." Robert Crumb

Review:

"Like the boy in this autobiographical novel my first reading of Stitches left me speechless. And in awe. 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. Spare in words, painful in pictures, Small, in a style of dry menace, draws us a boy's life that you wouldn't want to live but you can't put down. From its first line four pages in, 'Mama had her little cough,' we know that we are in the hands of a master." Jules Feiffer

Review:

"David Small's Stitches is 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." Françoise Mouly, Art Editor, The New Yorker

Review:

"Stitches is one of the most compelling books I've read in a long time — totally original in style, seemingly simplistic while psychologically complex and totally absorbing. There's no doubt that David Small, with his ground-breaking work, has elevated the art of the graphic novel and brought it to new creative heights." Stan Lee

Synopsis:

Telling his story in a graphic-novel style, the prize-winning children's author depicts a childhood from hell in this searing yet redemptive memoir.

Synopsis:

Finalist for the 2009 National Book Award and finalist for two 2010 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards: the prize-winning children’s author depicts a childhood from hell in this searing yet redemptive graphic memoir.

Synopsis:

Sci-fi adventure meets love storyand#8212;and East meets Westand#8212;inMangaman,an original graphic novel for teens.and#160;

and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; Ryoko, a manga character from a manga world, falls through the Rip into the "real" worldand#8212;the western worldand#8212;and tries to survive as the ultimate outsider at a typical American high school.

and#160;and#160;and#160; When Ryoko falls in love with Marissa Montaigne, the most beautiful girl in the school, his eyes turn to hearts and comic tension tightens as his way of being drawn and expressing himself clashes with this different Western world in which he is stuck in. "Panel-holed" for being different, Ryoko has to figure out how to get back to his manga world, back through the Rip . . .and#160;all while he has hearts for eyes for a girl from the wrong kind of comic book.

and#160;and#160;and#160; Barry Lyga writes a metafictive masterpiece as manga meets traditional Western comic book style, while Colleen Doran combines manga techniques and conventions with Western comic book storytelling to create a unique seamlessand#8212;though not Riplessand#8212;comic hybrid that is by turns hilarious and heartbreaking.

Synopsis:

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 Stitches is 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."--Françoise 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, Stitches becomes 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

Video

Momma had her little cough (from David Small's Stitches) from Stitches: A Memoir... on Vimeo.

About the Author

Colleen Doran, in a career spanning more than twenty years, has worked on some of the greatest characters in comics, including Superman, Spider-Man, and Wonder Woman.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 7 comments:

Jennifer Delpit, January 18, 2011 (view all comments by Jennifer Delpit)
I have been waiting for this fascinating and beautifully drawn book ever since I heard the incredibly talented David Small give a talk in 1996, when he described some of the unusual circumstances that he's had to overcome and mentioned that maybe one day he would finish a book about it. Extremely personal, shocking, heartbreaking, and ultimately generous to those who knowingly and unknowingly inflicted so much damage on him in his formative years, this is not only the best book I've read this year, but one of the best I've read in decades.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Larry Robinson, March 23, 2010 (view all comments by Larry Robinson)
No book is perfect, but this one comes pretty close. It is a touching and heartbreaking graphic memoir. Growing up David was subjected to numerous x-rays to try and cure his sinus problems. Those x-rays leave him cancer stricken and when he is operated on he isn't told that he has cancer. As a result of the operation he loses his voice. His family is rife with unhappiness and secrets. David's inability to speak makes him feel even more isolated. A sad but uplifting coming-of-age story.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)
Suzanne Levin, January 21, 2010 (view all comments by Suzanne Levin)
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.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(4 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 7 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780393068573
Author:
Small, David
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company
Author:
Lyga, Barry
Author:
Doran, Colleen
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Authors, American -- 20th century.
Subject:
Children's stories -- Authorship.
Subject:
Biography - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20090931
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 7
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Black-and-white illustrations
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
10.25 x 6.63 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 12

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Children's » Comics and Graphic Novels » General
Children's » Sale Books
Fiction and Poetry » Graphic Novels » Alternative
Fiction and Poetry » Graphic Novels » Collectibles
Fiction and Poetry » Graphic Novels » General
Fiction and Poetry » Graphic Novels » Nonfiction
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Specialties
Science and Mathematics » Electricity » General Electronics

Stitches New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$27.95 In Stock
Product details 336 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393068573 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Small, a Caldecott Medal winner and illustrator of such books as The Gardener and Imogene's Antlers, tells us — no, shows us — the quietly disturbing story of his youth growing up in an emotionally closed-off household while struggling with cancer. The characters are bizarre and shocking, yet still recognizable; the art is beautiful in the way the saddest movies are. Nominated for the 2009 National Book Award for Young People's Literature.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In this profound and moving memoir, Small, an award-winning children's book illustrator, uses his drawings to depict the consciousness of a young boy. The story starts when the narrator is six years old and follows him into adulthood, with most of the story spent during his early adolescence. The youngest member of a silent and unhappy family, David is subjected to repeated x-rays to monitor sinus problems. When he develops cancer as a result of this procedure, he is operated on without being told what is wrong with him. The operation results in the loss of his voice, cutting him off even further from the world around him. Small's black and white pen and ink drawings are endlessly perceptive as they portray the layering of dream and imagination onto the real-life experiences of the young boy. Small's intuitive morphing of images, as with the terrible postsurgery scar on the main character's throat that becomes a dark staircase climbed by his mother, provide deep emotional echoes. Some understanding is gained as family secrets are unearthed, but for the most part David fends for himself in a family that is uncommunicative to a truly ghastly degree. Small tells his story with haunting subtlety and power. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Emotionally raw, artistically compelling and psychologically devastating graphic memoir of childhood trauma.... Graphic narrative at its most cathartic."
"Review" by , "Like other 'important' graphic works it seems destined to sit beside — think no less than Maus — this is a frequently disturbing, pitch-black funny, ultimately cathartic story whose full impact can only be delivered in the comics medium, which keeps it palatable as it reinforces its appalling aspects. If there's any fight left in the argument that comics aren't legitimate literature, this is just the thing to enlighten the naysayers."
"Review" by , "David Small evokes the mad scientific world of the 1950s beautifully, a time when everyone believed that science could fix everything.... Capturing body language and facial expressions subtly, Stitches becomes in Small's skillful hands a powerful story, an emotionally charged autobiography."
"Review" by , "Like the boy in this autobiographical novel my first reading of Stitches left me speechless. And in awe. 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. Spare in words, painful in pictures, Small, in a style of dry menace, draws us a boy's life that you wouldn't want to live but you can't put down. From its first line four pages in, 'Mama had her little cough,' we know that we are in the hands of a master."
"Review" by , "David Small's Stitches is 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."
"Review" by , "Stitches is one of the most compelling books I've read in a long time — totally original in style, seemingly simplistic while psychologically complex and totally absorbing. There's no doubt that David Small, with his ground-breaking work, has elevated the art of the graphic novel and brought it to new creative heights."
"Synopsis" by , Telling his story in a graphic-novel style, the prize-winning children's author depicts a childhood from hell in this searing yet redemptive memoir.
"Synopsis" by , Finalist for the 2009 National Book Award and finalist for two 2010 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards: the prize-winning children’s author depicts a childhood from hell in this searing yet redemptive graphic memoir.
"Synopsis" by ,
Sci-fi adventure meets love storyand#8212;and East meets Westand#8212;inMangaman,an original graphic novel for teens.and#160;

and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; Ryoko, a manga character from a manga world, falls through the Rip into the "real" worldand#8212;the western worldand#8212;and tries to survive as the ultimate outsider at a typical American high school.

and#160;and#160;and#160; When Ryoko falls in love with Marissa Montaigne, the most beautiful girl in the school, his eyes turn to hearts and comic tension tightens as his way of being drawn and expressing himself clashes with this different Western world in which he is stuck in. "Panel-holed" for being different, Ryoko has to figure out how to get back to his manga world, back through the Rip . . .and#160;all while he has hearts for eyes for a girl from the wrong kind of comic book.

and#160;and#160;and#160; Barry Lyga writes a metafictive masterpiece as manga meets traditional Western comic book style, while Colleen Doran combines manga techniques and conventions with Western comic book storytelling to create a unique seamlessand#8212;though not Riplessand#8212;comic hybrid that is by turns hilarious and heartbreaking.

"Synopsis" by , 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 Stitches is 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."--Françoise 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, Stitches becomes 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
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