[GN] Stitches – David Small

March 2, 2010 § 12 Comments

Stitches is a book in which David Small tells us about how he lived his childhood in silence. Having been born with breathing difficulties, his dad, a doctor, exposed him to multiple ‘x-ray treatments’, convinced that it would cure his problem. Little did anyone know then that it would end up causing cancer. David loses his vocal cords during an operation, and subsequently has no choice but to remain silent.

It was a little painful to read this book sometimes. The illustrations were beautifully done, I think, to the point where there were a couple of really disturbing ones. David’s life was definitely not a bed of roses; his parents could not have been more difficult, and it seemed like his brother was almost never there.

There was resentment, loneliness, some kind of sadness that permeated the whole volume. It felt like little David was never at peace, he never understood so many things, and felt like the world was conspiring against him for some reason. Or maybe that’s just how I read it. And his wish to become Alice from Lewis Carroll’s classic only goes on to show how deeply he felt disconnected from the real world, wanting to disappear into a rabbit hole and enter a whole new dimension.

All in all, a good book. It felt a little short, like I wanted something more, I wanted David Small to dig deeper into the lives of his other family members, but then again, it is his memoir. The illustrations did more than just show pictures, they portrayed also an emotional depth that can sometimes be difficult to visualise, but he did it well.

Rating: 4

§ 12 Responses to [GN] Stitches – David Small

  • Mel u says:

    This sounds like a book very much worth reading-thanks for sharing your thoughts on it

  • Nymeth says:

    I’ve heard wonderful things about this book – so much so that I worry my expectations are too high, so thank you for levelling them down some, even though you liked it 😛 What you said about his restlessness/resentment made me compare it to Blankets in my head. One of my favourite things about Blankets was that it was written without any bitterness whatsoever.

    • Michelle says:

      I’ve heard wonderful things about it too. In a way, it delivered, but I’m glad I didn’t go into the book with too high of an expectation. I’m glad I helped (I think?), but if you’re comparing this book with Blankets, at the risk of sounding mean to this book, I think Blankets is a tough one to beat.

  • Vishy says:

    This looks like an interesting book. I can’t imagine how it must be to not speak for most of one’s life. Very scary, but the fact that David Small went on to write a book about his life is very inspiring. Thanks for writing about this book.

    • Michelle says:

      He does mention that he slowly gets to ‘whisper’ after the surgery, and that vocal cords get stronger the more you scream, so I’m not sure if he finally managed to get his voice back. But definitely an interesting book.

  • Nish says:

    There is an award waiting for you up on my blog 🙂


  • mee says:

    So jealous you can get it from your library. Mine doesn’t have yet!

    • Michelle says:

      Yea, it’s good that the library has it. It’s one of the things I’m going to miss..

      Can you not request that your library purchase it?

  • Mark David says:

    Is it new? I remember hearing this from the BOTNS podcast. This was adapted from a graphic novel, right?

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