Skip to main content

Stitches by David Small


David Small tells the story of his unhappy childhood in this graphic memoir. About 50 years ago, when Mr. Small was 14, he underwent surgery that rendered him mute for all intents and purposes and also resulted in his thyroid gland being removed. He believed that a cyst was being removed, but it turned out that the "cyst" was a tumor that had begun to grow as the result of the x-ray treatments performed on David when David was just an infant by his own father (who was a radiologist). At the time that David was an infant, radiological treatments were used to cure sinus and breathing issues, which David had as a child.  As a result of the insane amount of radiology used, David developed cancer. For nearly a decade after his surgery, he couldn't physically speak above the level of a hoarse whisper, no matter how hard he trained his remaining vocal cords.

The fact that David's father gave him cancer is one of the devastating sad parts of the story; but there is a second theme that is just as devastating: the communication, or lack of it, that is apparent in David's family  The fact that David was exposed to a high risk of cancer by his father isn't really discussed by David, his father OR his mother aside from a very, very brief conversation a few months after the surgery. In fact, it's almost as if David learned that he had cancer by accident and would have continued to believe that a cyst was removed if he hadn't accidentally stumbled upon it. Other communication was non-verbal - his mother only communicated her displeasure by a little cough that she had. She wasn't very adept at showing her love for her son, if she even loved him at all. It's also about having a voice - or finding an alternative method to having your voice heard when your original voice has been literally ripped from you without your knowledge or consent.

The book is really raw. My heart wrenched, particularly at the parts where David is flashing back to getting the high doses of radiation when he learns that he, in fact, was exposed to cancer by his father.  Mr. Small has a way of illustrating the raw, strong emotions without words being necessary to convey what he intends.  Needless to say, if you haven't figured it out yet, I loved how Mr. Small drew this book. While the story itself moves quickly because of the careful format, I urge you to slow down or go back after the first read through so that you can study the illustrations and really appreciate them.

Definitely one to add to your collection.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

In Memoriam

One of my most favorite bookish podcasts, Books on the Nightstand, has ended its tremendously successful run.  It has been around seemingly forever and was one of my staples in book recommendations. It will be sorely missed and leaves a space in my podcast listening zone that I'm striving to fill.  While I understand that the podcast em-cees, Michael and Anne, have their own lives that they probably want to continue with (and podcasting takes a lot of time, particularly when you're as popular as they are and, for example, as popular as the Manic Mommies are/were), they will be sorely missed.  However you can find them on both Goodreads and on Twitter.

In anticipation of their ultimate decision to end the podcast, I found a number of other really awesome podcasts to fill the void, some of which are bookish and some of which aren't.  For your listening pleasure:


BookRiot - more of a news in the publishing industry podcast but still pretty awesome;All the Books - a weekly po…

Missoula by Jon Krakauer

You may recognize the author's name - Krakauer is perhaps most famous for the book Into the Wild about a young man that goes to Alaska (and which was made into a movie).  I enjoyed that book and when I heard on a podcast that I listen to that Krakuer had written a new book, I decided to get it and read it.  In this book, which is non fiction - he focuses on the University of Montana, the local police department and at the local prosecutor's office and analyzes their job performances through the eyes of five young women who were sexually assaulted. During this same period, the Department of Justice investigated how those same parties handled 80 rape cases and that investigation yielded dismaying results. In one instance, a detective re assured a male suspect during an interrogation that she didn't believe he committed a rape (despite evidence to the contrary) because they got a lot of false accusations. Similarly, the Chief of Police (!!!) sent an article to a victim citin…

City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin

I was hesitant to pick up Justin Cronin's trilogy, which began with The Passage, because I was vampired out.  But it's different. It combines science fiction and westerns and spans about 1500 pages and 1000 years and generations, upon generations of people.  It's dystopian and hopeful all at the same time! The vampires don't sparkle, thankfully, and the story isn't just told in prose - it's told via letters, journals, scientific journals, flashback, the whole nine yards.
As the book opens, we find our beloved characters in a time of peace and relative prosperity.  There have been no viral attacks for twenty years. The main characters are all struggling with something that has broken them and they each struggle. And there was also Zero, the ultimate bad guy, that wants his say and his ultimate revenge. This book is wonderful in the sense that it is Cronin at his absolute best - he is a storyteller on par with perhaps the best of the fantasy writers - of any w…