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Stitches : a memoir--
David Small
Adult Fiction SMALL

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In this profound and moving memoir, Small, an award-winning children's book illustrator, uses his drawings to depict the consciousness of a young boy. The story starts when the narrator is six years old and follows him into adulthood, with most of the story spent during his early adolescence. The youngest member of a silent and unhappy family, David is subjected to repeated x-rays to monitor sinus problems. When he develops cancer as a result of this procedure, he is operated on without being told what is wrong with him. The operation results in the loss of his voice, cutting him off even further from the world around him. Small's black and white pen and ink drawings are endlessly perceptive as they portray the layering of dream and imagination onto the real-life experiences of the young boy. Small's intuitive morphing of images, as with the terrible postsurgery scar on the main character's throat that becomes a dark staircase climbed by his mother, provide deep emotional echoes. Some understanding is gained as family secrets are unearthed, but for the most part David fends for himself in a family that is uncommunicative to a truly ghastly degree. Small tells his story with haunting subtlety and power. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

"Stitches" refers to the clumsy sutures on 14-year-old David's neck after a cancer operation he wasn't supposed to know was cancer-an operation that renders him mute for a long time. More subtly, "stitches" could allude to how David's family members clumsily hold together their outwardly normal but unhappy lives: dad a stiff radiologist taking refuge in the liberal application of "healing" X-rays, mother a furious, cruel force, the cranky and feisty grandmother. Amidst enforced family silence about the parents' marriage and this unexpected handicap, a psychiatrist tells David a simple truth, freeing him to find his voice in art and, later, win awards for children's picture books. In fact, 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. Verdict In no way the latest ho-hum episode of Dysfunctional Family Funnies, Stitches is compelling, disturbing, yet surprisingly easy to read and more than meets the high standard set by the widely praised Fun Home. With some sexual issues; highly recommended for older teens up.-M.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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