Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Stitches by David Small
Stitches is the haunting, graphic memoir of the award-winning children’s illustrator, David Small. As a child, Small's health problems were treated with a series of x-rays, administered by his father. The resulting cancer went long untreated and caused the loss of one of his vocal chords. Since the surgery, he has never been able to speak in more than a whisper. In a story that could only be told graphically, Small shows how his own enforced silence was a reflection of the silence in his own family. The spare text and monochromatic illustrations reinforce the lack of dialogue.
If you have always wanted to try a graphic novel, Stitches isn't a bad place to start. It has been highly-praised by a number of reviewers and can be read in less than an hour. As a word of caution, the book does contain some nudity, language, and acts of violence. Elements such as these tend to be harder for some readers to "skip over" as you could in a novel.
Persepolis and Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi. Another great graphic memoir which depicts Satrapi's life in Iran, during and after the Islamic Revolution. It was adapted to film in 2007.
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. The children of Rex and Rose Mary Walls learned from a young age to take care of themselves, spurred on by their nomadic and frequently neglectful parents.
The Art of Mending by Elizabeth Berg. Laura Bartone must reconcile her sister's accusations of abuse by her mother, with her own happy childhood.