Do you ever remember reading Imogene’s Antlers as a child? It’s about a girl who wakes up with an enormous pair of antlers on her head one morning? Well David Small the author and illustrator of that book, woke up one morning when he was fourteen and found that instead of antlers on his head – he couldn’t speak. Turns out that his parents had decided not to tell him he had cancer and could die, which is why he had to have surgery to remove one of his vocal cords.
In his graphic novel memoir, Stitches, David Small reflects on his childhood and how his parents’ unhappiness in their own lives was transferred on to his own, from how they approached his cancer – with his dad, who was a doctor, trying his very own treatments of radiation for David’s cancer, to his mother’s anger which was often released in rages at David. What’s a boy to do in a family like this? David Small shows how he survived his family, overcame all the craziness life brought him, and how a little artistic expression can work wonders.