JoLene's Reviews > The Complete Maus

The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman
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's review
Jun 11, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: library, hf, grapic-novel, bio-memoir, read-2012, non-fiction
Read from June 11 to 14, 2012

The Complete Maus is the compilation of two graphic novels written by Speigelman. I read Maus I: My Father Bleeds History a long time ago, and it was my first experience with graphic novels dealing with adult themes. This is memoir story about a father-son relationship (Art is the son) and about Vladek's (Art's father) Holocaust experiences shaped their lives.

This is definitely not a light and fluffy story. Normally, I read graphic novels in two days at most. Due to the heaviness of the story, I did not power through. The story opens with Art visiting his father --- and from this opening encounter, we realize that their relationship is strained. Art approaches his father about writing a comic about his experiences during the Holocaust and Vladek begrudgingly agrees. The remainder of the two books is told in alternating snippets of the present day story and the Holocaust story.

Obviously, the horrors of the Holocaust are known and Speigelman does not hold back in terms of presenting all the terrifying aspects. I think that one of the profound aspects of the story is showing how this experience has then tainted every aspect of Vladek's life. As an old man, he is extremely difficult to deal with: he is cheap --- taking back opened boxes of food, he is paranoid -- thinking his 2nd wife is stealing from him and he is a slightly surprisingly a racist --- thinking a black man will steal his groceries.

Perhaps by hearing his father's story, Art has a better understanding of his father, though their relationship remained strained. I think that the guilt that Art has felt his entire life (survivor guilt -- despite the fact that he wasn't even born yet) has been put to good use by documenting his father's story. It is incredibly important that these stories are not lost and by putting into a graphic novel format, this story may reach some that don't typically read novels or non-fiction.

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Reading Progress

06/12/2012 page 98

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