Small, D. (2009). Stitches: a memoir. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN: 9780393068573
Annotation: At 14, David is taken into surgery to have a lump in his throat removed. After two surgeries, he wakes up to find one of his vocal chords has been removed, he can’t talk and he has a huge scar across his throat. Then he discovers that his parents are hiding the fact that the lump was cancerous.
Reaction: I wasn’t expecting to like this book; I didn’t really know what it was about, but something about the blurb on the cover turned me off, not that I can remember now what it was. But some of my Picture Books classmates really enjoyed it, since I already had it checked out, I figured I might as well read it. I was quite pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this quiet, moving memoir. Small’s story is a little heartbreaking, but it’s also a little heroic. He managed to work through his family issues and become a successful illustrator and author.
His illustrations in this are beautiful and set the tone for the story. He allows the pictures to handle all the descriptive heavy lifting, using short declarative sentences for most of the book. I love the grey washes that are the only color; it adds to the feeling of melancholy that pervades most of the story.
I would recommend this for graphic novel loving high school kids. The themes and tone are a bit mature; nothing really offensive, but just really heavy subject matter.
Media Used: None listed, but it appears to be ink and watercolor, similar to So You Want to be President?