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Stitches: A Memoir Hardcover – 3 Nov 2009
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If this book were a wine, you'd discover a nose full of Truffaut, Baudelaire, and John Waters. And yet, after all the blows and the despair, and the desperation David Small skillfully manages to draw a door out of his past and invite us into his present. -- Jack Gantos, author of Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key
In Stitches, David Small exposes the deepest part of a painful youth-cathartic and disturbing as memoirs get by one of our most gifted storytellers. This one will resonate long after you put it down. -- Harry Bliss, New Yorker cover artist and illustrator
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. -- Francoise Mouly, Art Editor of The New Yorker
Stitches is one of the most compelling books I've read in a long time. David Small, with his ground-breaking work, has elevated the art of the graphic novel and brought it to new creative heights. -- Stan Lee, co-creator of Spider-Man and other Marvel Comics
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, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist"
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"
One word. Phenomenal....If you haven t read a graphic novel before, let this be your first. I cannot say enough about this book, which will be released in September and is something to look out for. Highly Recommended. I reluctantly give this novel 5 stars; reluctantly, only because there aren t 6 stars to give out. --Jeff Rivera"
Starred 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. "
Starred Review. It's Small's art that lifts his memoir into the extraordinary. His seemingly simple black-and-white wash captures people, emotions, relationships, and plot subtleties with grace, precision, and a flawless sense of graphic narration....compelling, disturbing, yet surprisingly easy to read and more than meets the high standard set by the widely praised Fun Home. "
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. --Francoise Mouly, Art Editor of The New Yorker"
From the Back Cover
"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 cartoonis "David Small'sStitches 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."--Francoise 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 "InStitches, 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 ofJoey Pigza Swallowed the Key, finalist for the National Book AwardSee all Product description
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Like all memoirs, you cannot be certain which part is real and which part is the product of the author's re-imagined selective memories. However, there is one thing I can be sure really happened, and that is the dream about a little bat who mistook a broken umbrella for its mother. That always happen to all of us.
This book is about David Small as well as it is about me and about you. That's what makes it great.
This isn't a happy story, it's quite dark, and you can't help but think it must be fiction. This can't actually be true. This can't actually be what happened to David. But it was and it is, and this thought keeps resonating in your head as you read through his childhood and adolescence. The way he describes his family as silent, each expressing themselves silently in different ways was brilliant. When he gets to the point where his silence is not a matter of choice anymore, I thought wow. This book is a lot more than I bargained for. This is profound, and quite painful to tell you the truth.
You're sad and in pain and you want to protect this boy from his family who are hurting him, albeit unintentionally. His mom, who plays an integral part in his pain fascinated me. Her anger and her silent suffering, the big revelation at the end was shocking that I couldn't begin to imagine the impact it had on him at the time.
I loved the little snippets at the end about his family and what happened to them after the story had ended, it made it all the more real to me.
Due to the x-rays his father shot at him when he was born, David developed a tumour on his throat which led to cancer and after two operations left him with one vocal chord making speaking an enormous task.
Similar to Alison Bechdel's "Fun Home" a few years ago, David Small's "Stitches" tells the story of a family and their secrets, of pain, of triumph and human relationships, and of hope. The drawing style reminded me of Will Eisner's - Small draws without panels and the drawings and words swirl together and spill over onto other pages.
However Small has enough of a style to call his own. The drawings in this book are incredible. Flicking back through the book there's something on every page that's extraordinary. The ones that stand out are the expressions of emotion - David finding a kind fatherly figure in a psychiatrist (depicted as the White Rabbit from Lewis Carroll's Alice books) and crying. The sequence of tears covers several pages and is beautiful. Similarly the one page depiction of a now voiceless David expressing his inner frustration toward his parents, a screaming mouth within a mouth within a mouth ad infinitum, is very powerful.
There's so much to recommend this book, the amazing art, the storytelling ability and the power of the story - if you're a fan of comics you will love this. Even if you're not a big reader of comics there's a lot here to appreciate and like. It's a tremendous achievement.
The book is written from a child's point of view and focuses on the autor's dealing with cancer when he was a kid, But alongside with that - he describes his childhood in general. Right from the first page he depicts the atmosphere of his home, family and beyond. Through the drawings and the text we see little David, subjected to a rough life with bitter cold-hearted parents in a house in the middle of nowhere. Without anyone who ever listens to him, hugs him or even gives him a slightest sense of compassion, David is descending to being a victim of cancer - and with every page you turn you only discover it's just the tip of the iceberg. I won't reveal any of that here - but I just hope you will read that book to discover the rest yourselves.
It has never occured to me that a book can have such an impact. I've read lots of strong books that thrilled me to the bone and even got me to cry - but this one tops them all. When you look at those drawings and read about David's childhood - you just can't help wishing you could dive into the book, give David the warmest hug you can give and save him from the bleak world he lives in. It is THAT emotional - and I promise you that I'm not exaggerating.
Do yourselves a favor and add this book to your collection. One can finish reading it in less than an hour - but I assure you that this book will remain inside you for much longer!
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The story is exquisitely told, agonising, and just plain sad. But I am so glad he has managed to tell it.Read more