Graphic Novel Review 149/365: Stitches

Please keep up with all of my old Graphic Novel Reviews here as I quest for 365 in 365 days! Or hit up #GN365 on Twitter.

No specific theme this week…just some cool books that you should know about!

Title: Stitches  

Author(s): David Small

Publisher: Norton (2009)

Age Rating: 17+

Stitches by David Small is a modern-day classic that should be in the graphic novel cannon conversation more.  Yes, it is renown, and yes, it is acclaimed, but this book needs to be in the discussions with Maus, Persepolis, and March because while the subject matter is not as heavy as the titles I just listed, the content, honesty, and conveyed emotion of this nonfiction piece deserves its place among the Titans.

Stitches is the story of author David Small from a young kid to a thirty-year-old man and the crazy family drama in the middle.  Growing up the youngest of two in a home that doesn’t seem keen on the needs of children, Small is left to discover life seemingly on his own in a cold, dark existence.  Small’s art portrays this by giving the reader monochromatic gray color scheme with inks mixed with water color.  The panels and pages are for the most part straight-forward with hand-drawn frames, giving the reader a slight uneasy feel.  There are some large splash pages with minimalist backgrounds, but those are few, punctuating important emotional moments in Small’s life.

One of the most interesting things about this book is the setting: 1950’s Detroit (for the most part).  In an era where most memoir graphic nonfiction comes from 30-40 somethings primarily set in the 80’s and 90’s, Small gives us a glimpse into a time period not often tackled in the graphic medium.  A return to a time where parents were cold, grandparents didn’t know the meaning of liberal, and there was no media outlets to discover or find yourself.

I didn’t even get a chance to discuss his ailments and struggles as a child and teenager.  This book, while not packed with words, speaks volumes.  And over 300 pages, Stitches gives the reader much to analyse and discuss.

Happy reading!


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