Chris's Reviews > Maus: A Survivor's Tale : My Father Bleeds History

Maus by Art Spiegelman
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's review
Oct 04, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: comic-books, memoirs-letters-and-diaries, history-wwii-trials-and-after

There has always been a debate about the impact and importance of cartoons and comic books. The debate pretty much boils down to the misconception that comic books simply tell adventure stories. This misconception irgnores several importnat things, the most important is that all fiction has its highs and lows. In literature, for instance, you have Austen and Twain, and then there is Radcliffe, who while a good writer, simply tells a story. This misconception is true of some comics, as it would be true of any genre of anything. The misconception does not take into account a graphic novel such as Maus.

A great deal has already been said about how important and ground breaking this book is, the importance of the story, the beauty in its retelling, and its unflinching non-judgemental style. There is no reason for me to repeat all that for it is true.

The book is multi-layered and tells the story not only of surving the Holocaust but surviving the life afterwards. The reader is not presented with a happy ever after tale, the book does present a realsitc and unflinching of life; instead, the reader is presented with a real life.

For me, the most touching and impactive part of the book was the inclusio of "Prisoner on the Hell Planet", a story about the suicide of Anja. For anyone who has suffered or who has a family member suffer from mental illness, it rings true in in its starkness.

Additionally, Spiegelman allows the reader to make the judgements, as opposed to making judgements and presenting them to the reader. This is especially well done in terms of the marriage of Mala and Valdek. If anything, the book asks for understanding of everything. In many ways, this book reminds me of the same themes addressed in The Memory Man.
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08/21/2016 marked as: read

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Jackie "the Librarian" Yes, comic is not a genre, it is a format. To say that all comic books and graphic novels simply tell adventure stories would be like saying all movies are romantic comedies.

Great review, Chris. I especially like how you point out that Spiegelman leaves it up the reader to draw conclusions.

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