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We Are On Our Own

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  800 ratings  ·  121 reviews

A stunning memoir of a mother and her daughter's survival in WWII and their subsequent lifelong struggle with faith

In this captivating and elegantly illustrated graphic memoir, Miriam Katin retells the story of her and her mother's escape on foot from the Nazi invasion of Budapest. With her father off fighting for the Hungarian army and the German troops quickly appro

Hardcover, 136 pages
Published May 16th 2006 by Drawn and Quarterly
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3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  800 ratings  ·  121 reviews

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Jul 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: library-borrowed
Hungary 1944, a young girl and her mother struggle to find freedom from the hands of both the Nazis and Soviets.
Nov 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
I would be afraid to write a graphic novel set during the Holocaust since one of the most successful graphic novels of all time, the Maus series has done is so brilliantly.

I am thrilled that Miriam Katin did not share my fear. She has produced a beautiful, touching and important work in We Are On Our Own. The scope is much smaller than that of Maus which is perhaps why it can happily coexist with Spiegelman's work neither threatening nor competing with it.

The plot is of a young mother whose hus
Feb 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019

Oh, por favor. Cómo puedes dar las gracias a un cielo teñido de sangre.
May 11, 2009 rated it it was ok
This graphic novel, Katin's memoir of being a child in Hungary when first the nazis, and then the Soviets, took control of the area, invites comparisons to Marjane Satrapi's _Persepolis_ books-- I mean, I think they were produced independent of one another, but both deal with a child's perspective of life under a foreign, repressive regime.... or so you'd think.

But perhaps because this book is mostly reconstructed from conversations with her mother, the book has little interest in young Miriam's
Sep 22, 2015 rated it liked it
This is the second book I've read by Katin. I read her follow-up to this book, Letting Go, a couple years ago. That one was a memoir that focused on her as an adult trying to recover the property that was stolen from her family as a Jews in Nazi Germany. This book recounts her family's story during the war when she was still a very young girl - 4 or 5 by the end of the book.

Its a tale of courage and hope during an awful time. It was one of the few Jew-in-Nazi-Germany stories I've read that actua
Saleh MoonWalker
داستان در مورد یه خانواده یهودی در زمان جنگ جهانی دوم هستش. اتفاقات و تراژدی های این کتاب، همراه با تصویرگری مناسبش، تا میزان تلخی درد و اندوه و شرایط سختی رو که اون خانواده در اون قرار داشتن رو نشون میده. سیستم روایتش بیشتر بر مبنای دیالوگ های افراد هستش و تصاویر هم بیشتر سیاه و سفید هستن و فقط چند جا رنگیه که اونم مربوط به زمان جنگ میشه. مثل بقیه خاطرات هولوکاست، داستان قوی ای هستش و اراده برای بقا در مقابل تصمیم های غیر ممکن رو خوب نشون میده. لازمه که هیچ وقت این دوران کثیف تاریخ رو فراموش نک ...more
May 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved it. The drawings are full of emotion. She shares her unique story without holding back. Although she is a funny woman and sees humour easily where many don't, and although she says she likes to make people laugh, just because "things are funny", there is not much humour here. That's ok.
The black and white drawings are deliberate. Photos of the time were in black and white but so were emotions. This is a beautiful book, easy to read and reread, no hankie required but bring your heart.
Jul 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Let’s get this out of the way: inevitably, the comparison is drawn to Maus, Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel about his parents’ experience in the Holocaust and the ensuing familial dynamics. There is room in memoir, literature, and narrative for multiple works about the Holocaust; Katin’s We Are On Our Own occupies a unique niche. They are both distinct pieces of art, and overlap in only the most general manner.

Katin’s storytelling is spare: 115 pages of illustration contain fewer than five pages
Emilia P
Sep 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: comic-books
So, yeah, as a comic book it was just fine/ok, in that scribbly style ala C. Tyler, which is interesting and boring/cheaty/shorthand at once.
Also, the language was stilted enough that I checked to see if it was a translation. No such luck. Written in English.

We Are On Our Own refers to an atheism borne of the struggles of WWII and it's aftermath, dealing with Nazis and Communists and etc. If all these terrible things happen, there is no god? I guess? But, dude, the book has a happy ending, and t
Hannah Garden
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ay yai yai, I love a sad memoir but when it there's something about a dog, too much. Too much. I had to read this sort of squinting and with my breath held, like when someone's removing a horrible splinter for you. Really a sharp sadness, this story carves.
Oct 02, 2018 rated it liked it
I found this a strange one. It's the account of a Jewish mother and daughter on the run from the Nazis and experiencing some terrible traumas before finally being reunited with the missing husband/father. The title refers to the family's loss of belief in God as a result of the Holocaust. Grim stuff. The art is expertly conceived, mostly in black and white pencils, with colour reserved only for a few post-war interludes and for the Nazi flag (an odd juxtaposition). And given that the author was ...more
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Maman a brûlé Dieu et puis il s'est réfugié dans une barrique." Mémoire d'une enfance ordinaire d'une fille de famille juive ordinaire de l'époque de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Le tragique et le comique ne sont jamais vraiment loin l'un de l'autre, tout comme l’épouvantable et le réconfortant.
Rachel Drrmrmrr
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So many things I love in one book. Beautiful illustrations, almost dreamlike. Soft and flowy, which is a stark contrast to the story. Her use of color and black and white to show the difference of time is really nice, too. I have a real fascination with the time period, WWII. Mother and daughter fleeing from their Nazi occupied city. Relying on the kindness of strangers to keep them safe. The kindness of some with the awfulness of others, I love it, I can't help it. I like seeing the extremes of ...more
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
Brilliant graphic memoir by an artist/author who survived the Holocaust as a young child in hiding with her mother. The artistry is moving and cinematic. So well done.
Romain Blandre
On connait tous bien la tragédie des pays d'Europe de l'est sous la domination nazie. On s'intéresse moins au sort qu'ils ont subi suite à leur occupation par l'Armée rouge. Cette bande dessinée au format carré original est là pour nous le rappeler en mettant en scène une mère et sa fille, en perpétuelle fuite depuis 1944, date à laquelle les nazis se lancent dans l'assassinat de masse des juifs de Hongrie. La suite ici:
Corinne Edwards
We Are On Our Own is not a completely chronological story. We see Miriam as an adult occasionally, with seemingly unimportant tasks and events reminding her about experiences in her past. The bulk of the story, however, takes place in Budapest during the last two years of World War II. She is Jewish, the single child of a deployed soldier father and a mother (Ester) at home. As the situation worsens for the Jews, Miriam flees with her mother and lives a frightful existence as her mother tries to ...more
Kelsey Hanson
This story is so devastatingly beautiful. In a remarkably short book, the author tells the poignant story of how she was able to escape Nazism in Europe with her mother. The artwork itself is done in a sketchbook sort of style and the color is used brilliantly. The story shows how courageous and determined her mother was as well as what she had to go through in order to survive with her child. The hardships she had to go through is contrasted by the childlike innocence of the author who obviousl ...more
Jun 26, 2012 rated it liked it
This lovely book, with its colored-pencil-and-graphite artwork, tells the memories of the young Katin as she lived through the 1944 German invasion of Budapest. 5-year-old Miriam’s father is at the front when the order comes for all Hungarian Jews to be rounded up, so her upper-class mother takes drastic and life-altering steps: She purchases false papers, saying that she is a country cleaning woman, and that Miriam is her illegitimate child. She then fakes her own death and vanishes into the c ...more
Steven Mccarthy
Nov 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
This story is about a young girl who’s name is Lisa Levy and her mother Esther Levy. In 1944 World War 2 was happening, and the Jewish had to flee towns to stay save. Lisa and her mother were both Jewish. Her father was in the war and she doesn’t remember him. Through the book they find out that all the Jewish must be reported but instead they leave town. They move town to town avoiding being captured.
This book was a very short and quick read, maybe for someone just to read if they have a book
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: popsugar-2017
This was heart-breaking. The story is incredibly sad and depressing. The drawings beautifully match the mood and Miriam Katin manages to capture two different experiences in one novel: the one of the mom who is so desperate to keep herself and her daughter alive and the one of the little girl who is so naive and finds beauty in the little things. I was near tears within the first ten or so pages when the little girl loses her dog. And it just went downhill from there. This is for sure a book I w ...more
Mike Aragona
Mar 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: all
Wow. Miriam brings us into the past and we see her as a child escaping WWII with her mother while trying to keep a hold onto their faith amidst death and destruction. Very poignant and powerful story told in a simple manner as seen through the eyes of a child. Considering the untold numbers who perished in the war, the fact that there are those who managed to escape and start a new life is beyond miraculous. One hopes that seeing what they went through could perhaps curb humanity's bloodlust... ...more
Oct 24, 2009 rated it liked it
This was a decent and emotional graphic novel of a mother and daughter fleeing the Nazis and then more or less fleeing the Russians after them.

The story has been pieced together from her own recollection of when she was a child on the run, but also from conversations and letters.

I think she comes to the wrong conclusion about God, but then, I understand her rationale.
Oct 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really liked the book. The artwork is amazing. Budapest is very well portrayed and through sketches and drawings history comes to life, comes to mean something more. A life. I am amazed each time by survivors' accounts about war.
David Schaafsma
Mar 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Pencil drawings by Katin, a tribute to her mother's resourcefulness in escaping Budapest during the Holocaust. A simple story in many ways, not the complex, multi-layered tale that Maus is, but the drawings are elegant and the story is inspiring.
Michelle Morrell
Powerfully written and beautifully illustrated story of a woman and her young daughter fleeing and surviving Nazi Germany, with all the cruelties and kindnesses they found along the way.
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
A mother and daughter must survive Nazi occupation and find that love is the only thing that can't be defeated.
Soobie's scared
Where did I see this graphic novel for the first time? Was it one of the 1001 fumetti to read before dying? Don't remember. I don't care, since it was a very interesting read.

This graphic novel is very pencil-y (matitoso for those of you who speak a little Italian). It's drawn with pencils and colored pencils to show the different moments (Hungary during the war Vs. US decades later) and the different lines show different emotions. The worse the situation is, the thicker, blacker, and more confu
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I found this title on a list of recommended graphic biographies. Miriam Katin's graphic memoir describes her survival during World War II, when she and her Jewish mother had to go into hiding to escape the Nazis. Posing as Christians or gypsies, from Budapest, Hungary, they made their way through the countryside, taking refuge at various sites and with various farm families who were willing to hide them. They were sometimes lucky, and sometimes survived through Miriam's mother's foresight and cl ...more
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, comic
This graphic memoir relates the story of a young mother and her daughter who flee Budapest during WWII. The story opens with mother and daughter reading Genesis in the Torah, discussing how God made lightness in the dark. The question of God's authority arises again and again as mother and daughter travel the countryside looking for shelter and food when safety comes at high costs and often ends abruptly. The black and white narrative of their journey is intermittently interrupted with color pan ...more
Mar 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: loeg-archives
Memoir of Jewish Miriam, as a young girl, and her mother on the run in Europe, 1944. It also touches, fairly briefly, on how their experiences shaped Miriam's feelings on faith, God and religion, and gives a nice picture of the various people who helped or ignored the two women during their time on the road. Particularly bizarre was the Nazi officer who fell in love with Miriam's mother and figured that he wouldn't turn them in since the war was nearly over.

Overall, the story wasn't the best WWI
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