In an eerie attic filled with living toys and dolls, one rag doll named
Stitch begins to awaken from his cotton-filled amnesia. Why does Granny
Pairley keep Stitch and his rag doll cousins captive in the playroom? Did
they once have lives outside the attic walls? Taunted by a pair of nasty
fairies called the Benders, and menaced by the very stinky Yum-Tum Bear,
Stitch finds comfort with Simon, the handsomest of the rag doll boys.
Along come the ghastly puppets Voodoo Dolly and Tinybones, leading Stitch
through hidden passageways to a dreadful secret room.
This digest-size re-issue of Stitch collects the entire story, plus
all-new extras exclusive to this edition.
This is an old favorite, and a rather unusual book. It’s actually a
graphic novel (aka comic) and it doesn’t follow any expected rules or
structure. The black and white art is cute yet creepy and perfectly
compliments the prose.
The story begins with Stitch, his sister and cousins already transformed
into rag dolls by their lonely and disturbed grandmother. Their memories
of the past lives are fuzzy at best and they spend their time exploring
the vast mysterious world of the old playroom where they live. The other
toys are alive and often are strange and menacing. This reads something
like an adult horror version of Raggedy Ann meets Toy Story. Despite being
very much not a children’s story, this still captures something of the
nearly forgotten essence of childhood, the power of make believe and
wonder and yes, fear.
What you might not expect is that this strangely sweet and macabre story
is also a gay love story. Stitch is somewhat in denial but coming to
accept that he is in love with his cute cousin Simon, who is also a rag
doll, and faces childish teasing from the other toys. Simon loves him back
and seems more at peace with his feelings. The two girl dolls are spunky
and likable. The grandmother is a distant presence but I feel her
personality strongly through the story. Her madness and loneliness sets
everything in motion.
I’ve given a lot of thought to the ending over the years, not quite sure
if it’s a happy ending or not, and I think it’s a stronger ending in it’s
ambiguity. Part of me wants a sequel just because I love the story so much
and want more, while I also think it’s perfect exactly as it is.
Copy Purchased for Review
(Don’t forget – commenters on this month’s “spooky reviews” will be entered to win some Jordan L Hawk swag or $15 from Dreamspinner!)