Stitches

Friday, August 6, 2010
David Small

David Small’s extraordinary memoir of his childhood and illness in Detroit in the 1960s is horrifying, haunting and sad. It’s not the kind of book one would expect to wile away an hour on a Sunday with, but I found myself doing just that.  I browsed its pages one afternoon at the counter in my kitchen, turning one page after the other until I finished it in one sitting. As a graphic novel, the book’s format is quick to read, but the subject matter makes it impossible to forget.
Stitches was a 2009 Finalist for the National Book Award and is a 2009 Michigan Notable Book. Small is a gifted storyteller and illustrator. He’s published many wonderful children’s books and his illustrations have appeared regularly in The New York Times, The New Yorker and Esquire.

His memoir reads a bit like a fairy tale complete with a pair of wicked witches played by his mother and grandmother, a bungling scientist played by his father and Small himself as the young hero who has us all rooting for his ultimate victory. Reading Stitches made me want to give Smalls a hug. Instead, I gave my own perplexed sons hugs.

Cyndi L., Reference

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