Maus is the story of the Holocaust told by a survivor to his son, a comic book writer. I don't want to dumb down Art Spiegelman's work by calling it aMaus is the story of the Holocaust told by a survivor to his son, a comic book writer. I don't want to dumb down Art Spiegelman's work by calling it a comic, but it's not a novel, so graphic novel doesn't do it justice either. In fact, I just don't think I can do this book justice at all.
It is, quite frankly, amazing.
The artwork is monotone, but it's this bleakness that works so well to portray the life of his parents and family as they tried to survive the ethnic cleansing occurring in Poland and ultimately Auschwitz.
The concept of races and nationalities being shown as different animals runs the risks of trivialising events, but it just isn't the case in Maus. Indeed it really does what Speigelman intended it to, it makes you so aware of the perils of turning swathes of people into effectively one, faceless person. I think everyone is aware of the horrors, but there is something about the way that the story is presented that really makes it come home all the more. By being so visual it affected me greatly. There was a few times I had to put the book down as it became a bit much.
I am aware that this book has been used as a text in universities and schools and I can understand why. I think everyone should read it. It's honest, unflinchingly so, never shying away from who his father really is, warts and all, his own racism being the ideal case in point. But when you see the photograph at the end, and look into Vladek's eyes, it's like a bolt right through you. These faceless mice were all people. People say that Nature can be cruel, but it's not a patch on humanity at times.
At a time when racism is a massive issue in the UK, this book profoundly touched me, and I don't just recommend this. I would make everyone read it. It's truly worth every award it has won....more
Now I'm not a catholic and I'm certainly not a CEO but I was very pleased when the "You're a goodreads winner" email dropped in with notice about thisNow I'm not a catholic and I'm certainly not a CEO but I was very pleased when the "You're a goodreads winner" email dropped in with notice about this book. And that's because I am intrigued by Pope John Paul II. I can't help but be fascinated by a man who just seemed so, well simply put, good.
This book gave me a taste, but probably against it's own values it tempts me. I want more. I loved the stories about the Pope's daily lives and his dealings with the Swiss Guards and how that can transfer across to your daily working life. And there was a bit of that, but just not enough. I know that Andreas Widmer has some amazing stories, even those that seem mundane to him and I wanted to know more about his current work and those failures he's had prior to this current business.
This was a bit of a surprise self-help book really and I wasn't expecting it. I'm not sure whether I failed to read the giveaway details properly or whether it's just not wholly clear, but I wasn't ever going to do the end-of-chapter reflection exercises, though I did read them and think about them.
My mum is going to love this book. She's a catholic convert and I know it'll give her many talking points, it's already been a discussion between me and many people, because if you just take one lesson from it about how to be a better person, then as far as I'm concerned, this book has done it's job. Pope John Paul II said "Whatever you shall be in life, whichever calling you choose, remember, that the fundamental calling of a human being is to have humanity." He puts it far more eloquently than my base level of belief, the single rule of Beckyism - "Don't be a shit to people". Either way works for me.
And now I'm done being preachy.
I won this book through Goodreads FirstReads and would like to thank Andreas Widmer for his book and kind message. ...more
I grabbed this book as I left the house this morning thinking that it would be ideal for the train journey to London and back. How right I was.
This bI grabbed this book as I left the house this morning thinking that it would be ideal for the train journey to London and back. How right I was.
This book is a lovely gentle memoir of someone who seemed when I met him to be a very genuine chap, and that does translate. His enthusiasm carries you along and he can paint a very vivid picture of the places he's been and the creatures he's seen, though it probably does help that I've seen a lot of his series!
However a lot of his stories are of close shaves and I have been left wondering how he's actually still alive!!
I only wish I could give this a 4.5 star rating. ...more