Stitches

Stitches

5.0 1
by Glen Huser
     
 

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Travis lives in a trailer park outside a small prairie town with his aunt, uncle, and a pack of rowdy little cousins. His mother, a country-and-western singer, is on the road a lot; his father is long gone. When things get crazy at his place he can always go visit his best friend, Chantelle, a smart disabled girl. Travis doesn't mind being poor and having strange

Overview


Travis lives in a trailer park outside a small prairie town with his aunt, uncle, and a pack of rowdy little cousins. His mother, a country-and-western singer, is on the road a lot; his father is long gone. When things get crazy at his place he can always go visit his best friend, Chantelle, a smart disabled girl. Travis doesn't mind being poor and having strange relatives. But he knows he's different from his junior high classmates in other ways, too. He loves to sew and play with puppets. He wants to become a professional puppeteer. These interests make Travis a ripe target for Shon and his friends, the school bullies. As ninth grade graduation approaches and Travis and his friends (including Shon's girlfriend) create a puppet production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, the taunts and schoolyard ambushes escalate until Shon's anger, jealousy, and prejudice erupt in violence.

This touching story of the trials and tribulations of adolescence resonates with young adult readers.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA
This novel follows Travis and Chantelle, the weird kids in their rural Canadian town, through junior high. They initially join together because no one else will befriend them, but they grow inseparable and their oddball families also become connected. In the three-year span of the story, the reader watches the big city entice good teachers, Travis's mother, and eventually even Travis away from their small town, leaving the less gifted citizens behind. A cast of complex characters alternately supports Travis and Chantelle and pulls them down, but despite hard times, bickering, and name-calling, their families come through for them when it matters. The two work with their talents and around their weaknesses by developing increasingly elaborate puppet shows, and they make some new friends in the process. The settings—the local thrift store, a trailer house stacked on top of another one, a former dormitory turned into a home—are as eclectic and memorable as the characters. Huser, a former school librarian, includes some good literary references, especially in a very funny description of class presentations of novels. He rewards his readers with an unsentimental mix of good and bad times, three-dimensional gay and disabled characters, and realistic blue-collar life. Teachers will use this book in their classrooms, but it will appeal to leisure readers as well. VOYA Codes: 4Q 3P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2003, Groundwood/Douglas & McIntyre, 198p., Ages 11 to 15.
—Jenny Ingram
Children's Literature
This coming-of-age story of 13-year-old Travis packs quite a powerful punch. While this story has well-developed characters and a strong storyline, the themes and language structure need to be approached with caution. Although the protagonist is in junior high, this book is most suitable for high school because of themes and readability issues. The sentence structure and vocabulary are appropriate for advanced readers as are the issues of homosexuality, gender roles, hate crimes, domestic violence and death. Examination of non-traditional families also occurs. The novel features a lovable character who defies established roles. He befriends a disabled girl, he sews costumes and dreams of becoming a professional puppeteer. Because he is different than the average teenager, he faces violent bullying. While loyal to his friend and family, he realizes he must follow his own path even if it means leaving people behind. He outgrows his small Canadian town and moves on to pursue his dreams. 2003, Groundwood Books, Ages 14 to 18.
— Patricia Silverberg
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-This dramatic novel, set in a western Canadian town, deals with some tough yet relevant issues, including bullying, spousal abuse, disabilities, and death. Travis's difficult life is examined over a period of three years, beginning in seventh grade. The only real constant in his life is Chantelle, a disfigured girl with a debilitating disease. Picked on unmercifully for no apparent reason by three bullies, Travis finds some balance through artistic expression (designing puppets and performing as a puppeteer), his encouraging teachers, some genuine friendships, and the support of his aunt with whom he lives. Plot development is mapped out well, but the characters are the strongest point here. Readers will empathize with Travis and Chantelle, and the mood of terror is caught very well. What begins as taunts of "girlie," "fruit fly," and "fag face" escalates as the bullies remove his pants and cover him with shoe polish, and later almost kill him. Quotes from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and rich descriptions of Travis's creations help to provide some much-needed contrasting beauty in the story. The dominant theme is obvious-people who are different are made to pay for it in awful ways. Sometimes, the differences can be a pay-off, if you are lucky. Students reading this book will be grateful that Travis is one of the lucky ones.-Corrina Austin, Locke's Public School, St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780888995780
Publisher:
Groundwood Books
Publication date:
10/28/2004
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
5.32(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.57(d)
Age Range:
11 - 13 Years

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Stitches 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I thought that addressing the issue of bullying through the victim's eyes made a reader very empathetic towards Travis (victim of bullying). Everyone has seen someone get bullied before and it lets the reader see just what that person may have went through for a day. I think that any educator should read this book to open eyes to a problem that they might not notice with a superficial glance. This would also be a good read for any middleschooler.