Jonathan's Reviews > The Complete Maus

The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman
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's review
Aug 10, 2012

really liked it

I first read this graphic novel during university for a module on WW2 in Europe. I remember thinking that a comic about the holocaust that portrayed the Jews as mice and the Nazis as cats could never work. The opposite is true: it has to be one of the most moving books about this event that I have read. The father’s struggles to survive, the witling down of his friends and family, and the loyalty or betrayal of various characters come together to create a story that engages the emotions.

Art Spiegelman tells the story of his father, a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps. The narration jumps between the present, when Art interviews his father, and the story of the war years. The father has become somewhat neurotic in his old age, hoarding, obsessing about money and making his wife miserable. Like Art, you wonder if his experience of the holocaust made him this way, or was he always like this and that’s why he survived.

The writer plays with his own metaphor, for example, questioning whether or not he can portray his French wife as a frog, which brings some light relief into a serious subject.

There are some disturbing images in the book and the themes dealt with are bleak, showing humanity at its worst. It is a suitable book only for children around 11 and up. As a very visual book it is accessible to children of different reading abilities. It is a suitable and engaging way of teaching about WW2 and the holocaust that does not trivialise or stray from the history of the times.

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Reading Progress

08/21/2016 marked as: read

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