Book Review: Stitches

Stitches, by David Small

Book Description: With this stunning memoir, David Small takes readers on an unforgettable journey into the dark heart of his tumultuous childhood in 1950s Detroit. At the age of fourteen, David awoke from a supposedly harmless operation to discover his throat had been slashed and one of his vocal chords removed, leaving him a virtual mute. No one had told him that he had cancer and was expected to die.

My review: That intro had me saying wtf, and that pretty much sums this up. Small’s childhood has been described as “hellish,” and his dark, gripping portrayal of growing up in a home of silence and simmering resentment certainly gets that point across.

Such an interesting concept, the memoir as graphic novel, and yet you see it more and more, and I truly think it works. The author expresses his childhood fears and confusion without ever being overly sentimental or schmaltzy – and it hits home in such a visceral way. The onomatepoeia of the sounds shown in the stark frames can affect you like a punch in the gut. I found Small’s memoir, moreso then what I experienced in reading Persepolis or Fun Home, was like watching a film more than reading a book. It only took a few hours to get through the entire book, and the impression was lasting afterwards. I did like it, harrowing though the subject matter may have been.

Word of the day:

Moribund: in a dying state; on the verge of extinction or termination; not progressing or advancing: a moribund political party

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