Author: David Small
Publication Date: 2009
Number of Pages: 329
Part of a Series: No
- Child cancer patients
- Family secrets
- Father and son
- Mother and son
- Mute boys
- Small, David, 1945-
- Throat cancer
Geographical Setting/Time Period: 1950s-60s, Detroit
- David Small, narrator. The younger of two brothers in family bludgeoned by silence.
- Mother, abusive and angry, fearful of imagined poverty,
- Father, absent and unaware of his son’s anxiety
Plot Summary: A dysfunctional family’s story told through the drawings of its youngest member. Abuse and neglect become secondary to the surgical removal of throat cancer which leaves the boy mute and angry.
Appeal: The story is told in an appealing manner but is somewhat disturbing. The graphics are easy to read and beautifully rendered. Adults and older teens will find it satisfying and complete.
Brief quote: “At home, late at night, I began to have the sensation that I was shrinking down and living inside my own mouth. A hot, moist cavern in which everything I thought, every word that came into my brain was thunderously shouted back at me.”
Prizes or Awards:
- ALA Notable Books - Nonfiction: 2010
- Alex Award: 2010
- Booklist Editors' Choice - Adult Nonfiction for Young Adults: 2009
- School Library Journal's Adult Books for High School Students: 2009
- YALSA Best Books for Young Adults: 2010
Similar Works: Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. A graphic novel that explores a teen’s coming of age and the parent-child relationship in a chaotic, dysfunctional family.
Reviewer’s Name: Nancy Rimassa
Adapted from Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Reader’ Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd. Chicago: ALA, 1997.