April 5, 2016

There's growing pains and then there's this

I've just read Stitches by David Small in one sitting. I'm not saying this to brag about my reading speed but more to express how engrossing I found his art and writing. Stitches is a memoir which focuses on an event which no one should ever have had to experience. First, there's the disturbing picture of his home life and the interaction of his parents with him and with one another (and his brother). One might argue that the silence endured in his home was a result of culture at that time (it was the 1950s). However, life is hardly ever so simply explained. (If you are looking to diversify your reading experience to encompass mental illness then you should check out this book.) The entire book is without color. To me, this was a powerful choice that illustrates quite aptly how David saw his life as monochromatic and without vibrancy. Some of the pages have no dialogue whatsoever and I think some of those are the most compelling. A feeling of helplessness and fear is evoked. And to think that David Small didn't see anything particularly interesting in his life story and this book almost didn't get written... Born with poor sinuses to a scientist father it made perfect sense that David would be subjected to the 'latest' innovations in science: the x-ray. This was before it was known that repeated exposure to radiation to that degree on a child that young...you can probably guess what happened. However, communication was so poor in their household that David was ignorant of what was really going on. The name of the book denotes some of the consequences of the actions made by his parents but until you have truly read the book from cover to cover and looked at the emotive images...it's powerful stuff. This is a well-written, beautifully illustrated book that is definitely worth a shot.

Want to have your mind blown? Here's an illustration by David of David illustrating:

Source: davidsmallbooks.com

**If you're interested in buying this book or any books really, you can click here or here. The first will re-direct you to AbeBooks and the second will re-direct you to The Book Depository. These are great websites for purchasing books (AbeBooks carries inexpensive used and out-of-print books and The Book Depository ships free everywhere in the world). Full disclosure: I will receive a commission on all sales made by following either of these links. I wouldn't recommend a site that I didn't use and you are under no obligation to purchase anything. :-) **

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