Saturday, August 20, 2011

Stitches: A Memoir

Stitches is a powerful and personal graphic memoir. It follows David from his birth, through his childhood, and into his early adulthood when he becomes a respected artist. He is a sickly child who turns to drawing as an outlet. His family members all seem to be leading lives of quiet desperation. His father, a radiologist, uses a punching bag to vent his frustrations, and he also uses his x-ray equipment on his young son. David's mother, who is more passive aggressive, strict, and terse, bangs a lot of cabinet doors. His older brother beats on drums. When a lump on his neck grows and has to be attended to medically, David's life is never the same.

Artist/writer David Small is a long time children book's illustrator whose work is well regarded. He won the prestigious Caldecott Award in 2001 for So You Want to Be President? written by Judith St. George. He frequently collaborates with his wife Sarah Stewart, and they won a Caldecott Honor in 1998 for The Gardener. He speaks more about his life and work on this graphic novel in this interview with Memoirville's Rebecca Touger.

Stitches was an extremely well received book. It was a 2009 National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature. It was nominated for two 2010 Eisner Awards. Publishers Weekly named it one of the Best Books of 2009. It was profiled by Eric Kinigsberg in The New York Times. The Washington Post's Michael Sims added this "horrific but ultimately redemptive" tale to "the list of powerful works of art in this versatile medium" of graphic novels. The Guardian's Rachel Cooke wrote that is was "a triumphant testament of survival."

This graphic memoir was published by W. W. Norton. A video trailer is available here.

1 comment:

  1. Here is an excellent (negative) review of this book here:

    Craig Fischer takes Small to task for not delving into his parents' lives and potential motivations, thus making them 2-D characters.