Stitches, a memoir in graphic novel

David Small presents Stitches, a memoir at Librería Moebius Bookstore on Wednesday the 15th of February 2017, at 6pm. Free entrance.

stitches-portadaOpen Stitches and meet David, a 6-years-old kid from Detroit, born in a rather non loquacious family. Mother is a cold and distant house wife and Father spends his time hitting a punching ball in the house basement when back from work. At home the atmosphere is unwieldly, described in this black and white graphic novel’s first chapter thanks to silent sequences only punctuated by sounds: Mother coughs and slams doors, Father hits the punching ball, Brother plays the drum…

This general lack of communication brings little David to communicate his own way: “wordlessly… getting sick, that was [his] language”. His sinuses and digestive system problems are taken care of by his father, who is a radiologist, and prescribes many X-Rays sessions. A cure which will only makes things worse…  At age 14, after a surgery to extract a cancer out of his throat, David loses his voice.

stitchesmumStitches is a memoir. His author is David Small, a successful illustrator for children literature who has been traveling to San Miguel for the last 20 years. Stitches is his first graphic novel. Published in 2009 by W. W. Norton & Company, the book is Winner of the American Library Association’s Alex Award, a National Book Award Finalist and NYTimes Bestseller.

miradasThe praise for Stitches is tremendous: Roz Chast has put Stitches into her favorite books list and Stan Lee’s opinion on David Small’s book is that “it has elevated the art of the graphic novel and brought it to new creative heights”.

Robert Crumb resumes it: “David Small evokes the mad scientific world of the 1950s beautifully, a time when everyone believed that science could fix everything. Small is an innocent lamb, a sensitive boy, caught in a nightmare situation.” Indeed Stitches is the portrait of a time and place: USA in the 50’s is described as an unsensitive, cruel, crushing society. David’s adolescence is a painful discovery of his own position as a victim; his intents of rebellion, shut down by his inability to talk loud, lay frustrated into fantastic dreams: page 196 of the soft cover edition a miserable bat under the rain mistakes a raggedy umbrella for his mother: poignant!

David Small’s mastering of sequences is outstanding! Follow the glances of young David on his environment and feel, from case to case, the stifle fury of this young man who will hopefully find refuge in the office of a psychoanalyst pictured as a rabbit! Yes, Stitches is the story of a healing scar and the reader can’t stop thinking of the act of surrender engaged by the author. But this graphic novel is also a masterpiece in story-telling: open Stitches and hold you breath, feel the gloom; turn the pages: get angry, consider the human misery; turn more pages: hope and cry with young David; finish this book and trust mankind again because of its hability to share, like David Small does with such a great talent, even the deepest pain.


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