Thursday, June 3, 2010

Stitches - David Small



This graphic novel has been around the block a time or two in the blogging world, but seemed like perhaps a good place to start in my exploration of this genre.

I feel like I need to qualify my review of this book. This is only the second graphic novel I've read in my life. Obviously, these books are very visual, and giving opinions on visual makes me feel like an imposter. As if I am trying to talk intelligently about art or something. So this will effectively be musings a layman.

Stitches is an autobiographical story about a seriously dysfunction family. One where mom is angry and doesn't talk much.




















Dad is a radiologist, who routinely x-rays David to rid him of various childhood ailments. Ultimately, it is discovered that these treatments have provided David a cancerous tumor on his neck, which in its removal, also requires the removal of his vocal chords. Of course all of these facts are hidden from David, until he stumbles upon them later. All he knows is that he wakes up without a voice.





















But this is just the tip of the iceberg. There's a homicidal grandmother, as well as other skeletons in the closet that leave their mark on David. It is a miracle the guy made it to adulthood sane and in one piece.

This is a book of few words that speaks volumes. The illustrations, drawn by David himself, are stunning. They are simple and roomy, sometimes depicting only the face of Jesus, or an eyeball. The focus almost feels like cinematography in an artistic indie film...deliberate pauses, restrained pacing, big impact. All in a book that takes about an hour to read.

I think I'm going to like this genre.

4.5 out of 5 stars

22 comments:

Melody said...

I need to add this onto my wishlist since I've heard nothing but raves about it!

Glad to hear you're liking this genre!! :)

cassandrajade said...

Sounds like it could be an interesting read. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it.

Nymeth said...

I have no doubt you'll like the medium, Sandy (sorry; it's stronger than me :P). It makes me very happy to hear how much you enjoyed Stitches. I've yet to read it myself, but I think I'll love it too.

Beth F said...

I picked up Stitches at BEA last year -- have I read it yet? No! Sigh.

Anyway, there are some terrific graphic books out there. It takes a bit to get into them.

Serena said...

wow, this sounds very sad but a good read. Those images better not be too graphic!

Trisha said...

I feel the same way when I try to discuss the graphic part of graphic novels. My reviews tend to focus on the novel parts. I haven't read this one yet, but it sounds interesting. Now, go get American Born Chinese if you haven't read that one yet....

S. Krishna said...

I really enjoyed this book as well. I was surprised at how deep a graphic novel could be, especially considering how quick it went!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I'm not sure how I feel about graphic novels. Even when I really like them, I'm not quite sure I feel like I've read a "book." ... which doesn't make sense - it's probably just that it's "different."

Jackie (Farm Lane Books) said...

It is great to see you're enjoying graphic novels. I have bought a lot recently, but haven't got round to reading them yet. This is on my wishlist and I'll read it as soon as I've read a few of the ones I already own!

The Bumbles said...

They seem like story boards for movies. Where they set up the visual shots, convey the plot and get people talking about the bigger picture.

JoAnn said...

I've only read a handful of graphic novels, and this one is already on my graphic tbr list. Sounds like I should make an effort to get to it a little sooner.

Zibilee said...

I have heard so much about this book and think that it sounds really sad and thought-provoking. I do really want to read this one, and am glad that you liked it!!

Kathleen said...

I've just begun reading this genre and have really been enjoying it. I can recommend I Kill Giants. It will have a similar impact on you as this one. I've still got to get around to reading Stitches!

Julie P. said...

I have this one in my stash and keep telling myself that I need to read it. I know it sounds amazingly powerful.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

I have only read a handful of graphic novels but I have been enjoying the experience and will add this one to my collection. I have to admit that I am so used to reading that I sometimes have to force myself to look at the pictures.

Jenners said...

I'm pretty new to the graphic novel genre too .. this sounds like it might be a good (but harrowing?) choice for my next attempt.

Wonderful review ... don't sell yourself short, Sandy!

Lauren said...

I really liked this book, too. The author is speaking at the ALA conference this year - so wish I could go. I thought it was a great way to write an autobiography.

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

Almost each review of this I have read was very positive, so I'll absolutely have to read it too! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Carrie K. said...

I really wish my library had this one! I love graphic novels and memoirs. Just started French Milk today.

Alice Teh said...

Graphic novels are something that I still shy away...

Iliana said...

This book sounds so good but so sad. I keep reading wonderful reviews and do want to read it but I think it's one of those I have to mentally prepare myself for!

bermudaonion said...

I've found that I really like graphic memoirs, but I am a memoir junkie. I enjoyed this one too.