Review of Stitches, by David Small


A Memoir

by David Small

W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 2009. 329 pages.

It is always poignant when a successful, accomplished adult tells the story of a painful childhood. When the person telling the story is a skilled artist telling the story in graphic form, it has all the more power.

David Small is an award-winning illustrator of picture books for children. His memoir, however, is not for children.

When he was a child, he was given x-ray “therapy” as treatment for a sinus condition. That well-meaning therapy gave him cancer as a teenager, leaving scars both on his skin and on his voice.

The abuse he suffered is all the more poignant in that much of it was well-meaning, and some of it simply neglect. In this powerful graphic memoir, he shows us how the world looked to a little boy and a teen going through difficult things at the hands of those who were supposed to love him.

A moving and memorable story.

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