May 05, 2010

"Stitches", by David Small

This is an article which is difficult to write. "Stitches" is a deeply stirring - disturbing, some would say - story. It's been actually five months that I've wanted to write it.

David Small tells in his graphic novel "Stitches" the story of his childhood and teenage years, growing up in a destructive family environment, going through cancer and an operation to remove the tumor which left him with his vocal chords shattered and a huge scar; his struggle to overcome his fate in his teenage years through psychotherapy and to enter a successful adult life.

This account struck me so deeply that I will never be able to convey all my thoughts.

Instead, let me walk you through a few excerpts of the book, in the hope that you will understand what I felt.

The story starts when David is six.

He is a young boy who spends a lot of time alone, drawing.

Family life is a heavily loaded oppressive atmosphere, meals are rituals where silence reigns and the unsaid hovers its weight above the heads.

David is now eleven and neither of his parents has been noticing the growth in David's neck. It's a visitor who seems to be the first person to ever put caring eyes on the eleven-year-old boy.

Silence reigns once more, no one will tell David about what he has. As to medical treatment: his parents have other priorities.

When eventually - three and half years after the diagnosis - he gets an operation, still no one has been sensitive enough to offer him even the slightest information on what he is going through.

You would think that their son surviving a cancer would be enough of a shock to David's parents for them to change their attitudes. But not so. David's every move is met with just as harsh and just as insensitive an attitude from his parents as ever.

David will eventually have the opportunity to receive psychotherapy.

His therapist will be the first person in his life to show him kindness and comprehension. Through his help, David will be able to open his eyes on the truth about what he has been going through.

Stitches: A Memoir, by David Small

See a "trailer" here.

Read this interview, in which David Small declared:
"I see [my parents] differently now," Small said. "I better understand their impulses and their drives. It doesn't make me love them any more. It doesn't make me like them as people any more than I ever did. I don't feel the need to forgive them anything, but I think that understanding someone as a human being is just about the best kind of forgiveness there is."
That's all folks.

1 comment:

Vladimir Adrien said...

ça a l'air vachement bien... je vais essayer de le dégoter.
ça me fait penser à "L'ascension du Haut Mal" de David B. que je viens de terminer, et qui, je dois dire, est une énorme claque (comment une famille, mais surtout le deuxième fils, sont confrontés à l'épilepsie chronique du fils aîné)...
je te le recommande vivement... sur le plan stylistique (dessin/narration) Satrapi a tout calqué, heureusement qu'il lui reste le sujet sinon j'aurais jeté mes Persepolis à la corbeille !