Stitches by David Small


One day David Small awoke from a supposedly harmless operation to discover that he had been transformed into a virtual mute. A vocal cord removed, his throat slashed and stitched together like a bloody boot, the fourteen-year-old boy had not been told that he had cancer and was expected to die.In Stitches, Small, the award-winning children’s illustrator and author, re-creates this terrifying event in a life story that might have been imagined b...

Details Stitches

Release DateSep 8th, 2009
PublisherW. W. Norton & Company
GenreSequential Art, Graphic Novels, Autobiography, Memoir, Comics, Nonfiction, Biography

Reviews Stitches

  • Carol
    My Goodness. Horrendously cruel and unloving parents, a nasty grandma, lies and a shocking surprise lead to a nightmare of a memoir and rather disturbing, but powerful work of graphic art.STITCHES is aptly named with creepy book cover and illustrations to match dipicting a horror of a family and a sad child turned troubled teen. "When you have no voice, you don't exist." Interesting and unusual medical reveal about David's mother at the conclusio...
  • Jan Philipzig
    Not sure how David Small's Stitches passed me by when originally published back in 2009 - I guess there are just too many fascinating comics coming out these days for me to keep up. Luckily, a few days ago I came across the title in a GR list of comic-book memoirs and finally ordered it from the library: what a revelation! Told in a sparse and subtle yet fluid and emotionally charged style, Small's coming-of-age memoir is as devastating as it is ...
  •  ~Geektastic~
    If it were up to me, all biographies and memoirs would be written in graphic novel form. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, The Complete Maus, The Complete Persepolis, Blankets ; these are all near-perfect expressions of personal and familial experience. The power of imagery saves the subject matter from being bogged down by the excessively wordy, self-justifying tendencies of some, and the oblique, pseudo-poetic drivel of others. The best graphic no...
  • Greta
    "Mama had her little cough...Once or twice, some quiet sobbing, out of sight...Or the slamming of kitchen doors. That was her language. Dad, home from work, went down to the basement and thumped a punching bag. That was his language. My brother, Ted, beat on his drum. And I, too, had learned a way of expressing myself wordlessly...Getting sick, that was my language.Stitches is a poignant, sometimes tragicomic memoir of David Small, best known as ...
  • Lyn
    Wow. David Small’s graphic novel Stitches is unlike any graphic novel book I have ever read. There are no zombies, no superheroes and no arcane or occult subjects at all, and yet my jaw dropped more than once. It took me about an hour to get to the end and it was riveting. This reminds me of what a storyboard for an Augusten Burroughs film might look like. Very much worth the very minimal investment in time to experience.
  • Raeleen Lemay
    *4.5*WOW. This was a very quick read, but a very interesting one! The art was all in black and white, and looked like it was painted in watercolor paint, which was super cool! The transitions were incredible, and the ending of the book blew me away. Highly recommend.
  • Oriana
    book #6 for Jugs & Capes!! Holy motherfuck, this book is intense. It's a real fast read, despite its intimidating heft. And it's just terribly devastating—powerful and aching and sparse and horribly beautiful, and oh also did I mention that it's terribly devastating? I mean, not devastating in an irredeemable way, like those maudlin mass-market bestsellers where everyone dies slowly & tragically while staring meaningfully into their loved ones'...
  • Mariah
    This book was an interesting graphic novel. There weren't many words, so I got through it very fast! I enjoyed his picture la and the fact that this was a memoir! He had a very hard life!!However, I struggled with the transitions between fantasy and his dreams and reality and the true story. This left me, at many times, confused and that is why I only gave the book 3 stars.
  • Lindsey Rey
    This is officially my favorite graphic memoir! Loved it so much!
  • Mariah
    This book was an interesting graphic novel. There weren't many words, so I got through it very fast! I enjoyed his picture a lot and the fact that this was a memoir! He had a very hard life!!However, I struggled with the transitions between fantasy and his dreams and reality and the true story. This left me, at many times, confused and that is why I only gave the book 3 stars.
  • Jackie
    Back in the 50's, people did NOT talk about issues. Everything was internalized - unhappiness, anger, resentment were all swallowed. When illustrator David Small was a boy, he felt all those repressed feelings, even though they weren't spoken. His mother's little cough, his father's absences, all spoke volumes.He internalized his own feelings, of not feeling loved or wanted, but they manifested physically as asthma and sinus troubles, exacerbated...
  • MJ Nicholls
    Understated and elegiac inkery. Strictly from the misery memoir staple, grainy and grotty, but not gratuitous. Cinematic panels opening up wistful wounds and profound childhood emptiness. The graphic novel is almost alone among contemporary art/fiction in capturing that peculiar form of youthful Weltschmerz.
  • Maggie Stiefvater
    I am not going to tell you anything about this book. I'm sure you're thinking that's an odd way to begin a review, but that's how I went into this book, and it worked for me. I was doing an interview with Booklist last weekend and I asked the interviewer what he thought was the graphic novel of the year so far. Without even having to consider, he said, "STITCHES." My publicist picked an advanced review copy up for me at ALA and I am thrilled that...
  • Sam Quixote
    David Small's childhood wasn't a happy one. His mother was cold, emotionless, and brutal toward him. His father was distant and barely spoke to him. His brother was around but just barely. Nobody spoke to one another. Then we find out about their tormented inner lives. His mother was a closet homosexual while his father was numbed by the knowledge that he had given David cancer through x-rays. His grandmother was an insane person who tried to mur...
  • Melki
    Wow! What a heartrending look at children's book writer/illustrator David Small's sad and miserable childhood!We see him first as a small boy, lying on the floor, happily drawing pictures.His dad is mostly absent, and his mother, well, let's face it...she's HORRIBLE! Verbally and physically abusive, she's a monster. But as this graphic novel, done in muted shades of gray suggests, not everything is black and white. After spending some time with D...
  • Shawn Mooney
    Whoever would've thought I'd be so deeply moved by a graphic memoir? My bibliophile buddy Lindy, that's who! I am grateful for the recommendation, as I'd adopted a rather snooty attitude towards graphic novels, etc. While I don't expect to start reading them all that much more regularly, I certainly get it now that they can convey powerful narratives like this one. Just wonderful!
  • Lee
    Such strange compressions of time: 24 years of the most significant moments in the author's life laid out in comparatively spare, sane, elegant, mature, b&w drawings (compared to the work of many other leading graphic artists) over 329 pages that surely took years to complete, read in an "enjoyable" hour, immersed in that sort of cinematic bookishness that comes from turning pages so much more quickly than those covered in text. A great passage o...
  • Suad Shamma
    I was highly impressed with this book, way more than I thought I would be. When I bought it, it was on a whim. I had never heard of David Small, I don't know who he is or what he does. I was taken in by the cover, the fact that it was a memoir written in graphic novel style, and with a quick skim through it I knew I liked the artist's style and would enjoy the story. This isn't a happy story, it's quite dark, and you can't help but think it must ...
  • Tatiana
    This is a very strong graphic novel. No superheroes here, just a very emotional memoir about a child growing up in a deeply dysfunctional family but who manages to overcome the damages that had been inflicted upon him by his relatives. A very, very unhappy family depicted here. And David is not very forgiving either.I do not recommend reading the plot summary printed on the dust jacket. It gives the entire story away.If you like Stitches, you wil...
  • Stacy268
    Heart breaking.I read this last night and was left very pensive. Once wakened by my daughter around 1am, Small's story would not leave my brain. Upon reflection I think I will be haunted by this one for a long time.
  • Agnė
    WHAT IS IT ABOUT?David Small's "Stitches" is a gloomy and harrowing memoir written as a graphic novel. The story brings us back to the author’s childhood and lets us “in a house where silence reigned and free speech was forbidden.” Although David wasn’t beaten or starved (not too often, anyways), the extreme lack of love and communication from his parents left deep scars, even deeper than a stitched up gash across his throat. And how did ...
  • Vanessa
    I picked this graphic novel up on a whim when I saw it in my local library. I like checking out relatively unheard of and independent graphic novels, and the concept of this illustrated memoir appealed to me.David Small depicts his childhood and adolescence living in a family where emotions are not shown, anger rules, and he is subjected to various x-rays and doses of radiation by his physician father in an attempt to cure is respiratory problems...
  • Kelly
    Woo wee, this memoir had some bite to it, to be sure. Picking this one up, I was not sure if it would consitute as 'creepy' as everyone has said it is. It's worse. Stitches is creepy and affecting. The story of David Small's childhood kept me up at night, with me pondering over him being mentally scarred or not. The pictures are 'simplistic' yet arresting. Check this one out.
  • Jon(athan) Nakapalau
    When a young boy looses his voice after an operation we watch as he tries to make himself "heard."
  • Jeanette
    Oh boy! Yesterday in picking up some library material- I found this graphic book on the librarian's "special" shelf. I usually take one of those without reading a word about every other month. They stick oversize rec's (cards) in them written by the named librarian and why they liked it. This one was a graphic and I have not read many- so in the book bag it went. The cover was a orange/peach too and the adults looked like Dr. Seuss people, althou...
  • Jolanta Da
    Esu suzaveta David Small piesiniais!!!, kuriais taip emocianaliai papasakota liudna vaikystes istorija...
  • Bob Redmond
    The story: a boy suffers from the worst kind of neglect, in a truly screwed up family situation. It probably won't spoil the story to say that he loses his voice through an operation (hence the title). It's a memoir.The background: the author would eventually become a renowned illustrator of children's books.My notes: the book is goregously illustrated in black inks and watercolors. The prose is spare, and the story minimal. Amist the flood of me...
  • Ken
    I bought with the intent of putting it in my classroom library, but I don't think I'm brave enough -- at least not for 8th graders. Mon Dieu, David Small's graphic memoir ("graphic" as in cartoon) includes titties and men's "things" and a Jesus talking from his crucifix (as one might expect, he was cross). The coup de grâce, though, comes in the form of a panel showing a neighbor lady getting out of bed with his mother (he stumbled into the bedr...
  • Jennifer
    This evocative graphic novel, replete with themes of loss, anger, pain and hope, is bound to resonate with readers in much the same way thatCraig Thompson’s Blankets does. Small’s memoir mirrors the helplessness children and adolescents often feel as pawns in world ruled by adults with their own dysfunctional baggage, and beautifully illustrates the truism that everyone eventually grows up and is rewarded with the chance to develop their own ...
  • UConnCo-op
    Imogene's Antlers by David Small has always been one of my favorite childrens books so I was eager to read his graphic memoir Stitches, but not prepared for the intensity of it. With drawings and spare words, he relives his troubled childhood with his frighteningly unhappy mother and physician father. After X-Ray treatments from his father, he develops cancer at the age of 14 but no one tells him. He awakes from surgery scarred, mute, and confuse...