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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Stitches, A Memoir - David Small

This was a bleak and heartbreaking graphic memoir by David Small, but it was also incredibly well done. I read a dreview of this book from Kirkus that called this book "emotionally raw" and I don't think there's a better way to say it than that.

David Small grew up in a household where there was not a lot of love or affection, and in fact one in which there was a lot of negativity. That in itself would have been difficult enough, but then, when he was 14, David went in for what he thought was a simple throat surgery. Instead, it turned out he had throat cancer caused by his father frequently subjecting him to "curative" x-rays when he was growing up (although he only finds all this out accidentally later). Instead of it being a small, simple operation, they had to cut out one of his vocal cords, leaving him mute. The story is told in sparse prose and illustrated with stark black, white and gray "comic" drawings which are anything but comic.

Although there is a bit of saving grace in the end via a skilled therapist and the power of art, I still felt at the end that the scars on David's heart were as unlikely to vanish completely as the ones on his throat.

This book is recommended only for mature high school readers and up.

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