by David Small
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Like many contemporary memoirists, David Small had a lousy childhood. He was a sickly kid (illness, he explains, was “a way of expressing myself wordlessly”); his mom was cold and distant, and he once walked in on her canoodling with a local hipster lady; his dad was taciturn and mean; his grandmother was physically abusive. There was a lot of hostile silence in his house, and Small ended up contributing to it inadvertently: When he was fourteen, an operation for a cancer his parents refused to tell him about left him with only one vocal cord and no voice. (He later regained the ability to speak.) His father, a radiologist, eventually confessed to having unintentionally caused the illness by using X-rays to treat his son’s breathing difficulties.
Art is, unsurprisingly, young David’s outlet of choice in his
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