Sep 8, 2009
David Small’s bracing new memoir, Stitches, is a shocker. The talk of last spring’s BookExpo America convention, it has been generating buzz for months, most notably for its unsentimental, no-holds-barred approach to Small’s youth as the son of a distant mother and a radiologist father. The youngest of two children, Small had problems with each of his family members, all of whom isolated themselves in some way, and all of whom caused Small some kind of turmoil. His brother teased and taunted him, and his mother withdrew into her own world (and made it clear, one way after another, that she was incapable of loving her child in the way most mothers do). But it was his father who did the most lasting damage. His ongoing radiology treatments performed on his son—done to “cure” him of sicknesses he faced—perhaps caused the cancerous growth that had to be removed, along with one of Small’s vocal cords, at the age of 14.