Saturday, September 05, 2009
Stitches by David Small is yet another graphic memoir about a boy who has a surgery that leaves him unable to speak. That Small has told his story visually adds a layer of meaning to his experience that a traditional memoir could not have managed. That he manages to create a literary graphic memoir is remarkable. Visually, the tone of the text is established early, as the surreal angles and images are softened through washes of grey-tones and sharp black and white.
The story Small shares is sad and visually relentless. There are not a lot of words. There do not have to be. In a home where silence simmered beneath the surface, the reader is forced to experience the sadness through the images as deeply as could occur through the speech of the people who move through this boy's life. His mother and father are brutally portrayed, grotesque caricatures of parents, while his brother remains a minor, enigmatic presence.
How Small copes through the silent rage is poignant and his triumph is clear from the beginning; he finds a remarkable voice in his art which conveys the conflict of his feelings in the face of confessions—both intentional and coincidental. In so many ways, the individual players in this family drama are doomed, another facet of the story that is told most clearly through Small’s drawing style. What I loved most about this graphic memoir is the sheer poetry of the visuals. So many of the pages are overflowing with drawings that evoke the type of emotions poets try to define through a line. This book is a poem, a memoir, a visual nightmare. It is stunning, in the purest meaning of that word as I was left silenced, sighing in perfect contentment.
Friday, September 04, 2009
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
But most importantly, August is the month of my darling daughter’s birthday. She turned 27 and, in spite of the drama surrounding our lives, we all managed to pull it together, to spend time in celebration over cake and pizza. (We also learned that the Sweet n Low cake and frosting mixes were blech but that the Publix sugar free cake is delicious!)
Things are never too bad when you can share a celebration with others. (We were in the hospital on her actual birthday but had already planned to celebrate it on the weekend when she didn't have to work. Still, Rob and I were going to surprise her by showing up at her job with some cake and maybe a balloon or something equally embarrassing. The best laid plans . . . ) August has been an exhausting month. I can’t say that I am terribly surprised. The way things have been going, I’d have been surprised if it had been anything but what it was. And let's just assume September is going to be more of the same. Books Read The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance by Audre Lorde Erasure by Percival Everett There, Their, They’re by Annette Lyon An Hour to Live, An Hour to Love by Richard Carlson and Kristine Carlson
I actually read more books last month but the chaos of the month made it hard for me to put my thoughts about what I read into words. Anyway, there are more reviews coming. Soon. I promise. In spite of this, it is truly a tough call but I have to say that I loved Erasure and I believe that will have to be the official "favorite" for the month. Movies Watched The Fantastic Four—Was this one of those mindless summer blockbuster wannabes? It was cute but not much more. Not a blockbuster in my mind. Stardust—Speaking of cute, and slightly quirky, this one wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I didn’t read the book first. That probably helped. A lot. Strike Up the Band—A Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney vehicle that was frankly dreadful except for one song. Grudge 2—I thought the first movie was at least interesting but this didn’t have the same intensity. Godfather—I’ve avoided this movie for decades for personal reasons that kept me from wanting to see any of the movies. I enjoyed it, in spite of myself. Godfather 2—This one stirred up some scary things for me. Still, I can appreciate why this movie is considered the best of the trilogy. Superbad—Cute goofy movie. Along the whole Animal House oeuvre. Masculine hormones + frat boy stupidity = nonsense. I laughed. 'Nuff said. The Devil Wears Prada—Better than I had thought it would be. It helps that I love Meryl Streep and like Anne Hathaway. Movies I Started to Watch but Stopped Kingdom of Heaven because it was dull. Rambo because it was too graphically violent. Just Friends although I like Ryan Reynolds I found this movie vapid.