Merry Wanderer of the Night + novel

Book Review: Stitches

David Small's father was a doctor who thought he could cure him through radiation. Instead the radiation made things worse and gave his son cancer. Rather than telling David his parents sent him into the operating room where David emerged voiceless after a vocal chord was removed. He thought the surgery would just be minor. David expressed himself through drawing and years later you can tell it paid of because the drawings in Stitches: A Memoir

are some of the most beautiful I have seen in any graphic memoir.

You can imagine how many emotions are portrayed in this book and what is truly amazing is how Small does this without words. He uses negative space and tiny changes in body language to tell the reader how each character is feeling. There isn't a lot of writing in this book but I came away from the story feeling like I knew the characters just as well as those in my favorite novels. Even though many pages were wordless I found myself looking at each panel longer than I would have had there been words. I really explored the intricacies of every drawing to help me understand the story. In some ways I liked the wordless panels more.

Anyone interested in memoirs or medical stories should definitely read this, but even if you're not interested in either of those things I still think this one is worth a try. It really transcends those two labels--by which I mean it's just a beautiful story. Small pulls you into his world much like he pulls himself into the paper he's drawing on. He doesn't judge anyone in his family for their choices, even though it would be easy to do, and manages to make you sympathize with all of them. In this way he acknowledges the private lives and thoughts of every person and in turn the importance of giving each human a chance for understanding.

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Book Review: Stitches + novel