I’ve been finishing a lot of books lately with only one response: wow. Maus I is no different. It is a graphic novel that follows the experiences of Art Spiegelman’s father and mother before and during WWII. They were Jews who lived in Poland, and the terrifying story of their survival during the war is heartbreaking and so engrossing that you will read it in one sitting, unable to put it down.
I began reading this last night, when I went to get some coffee. The shop was going to close soon, so I was just going to sit for a while and drink and read and be happy. What ended up happening was I got so lost in the story, the girl who makes the coffee had to tap my shoulder and ask me to leave after they closed. I then went and sat in my car, conveniently located under a streetlight, and finished the book before going home. I couldn’t even put it down to drive the four blocks home.
In the story, each race is a different type of animal. In any other story, this would have seemed offensive, but here it works so perfectly to illustrate just how horrible and cruel the actions of the Germans (depicted as cats) were against the Jews (depicted as mice). I thought one of the more fascinating aspects of the novel were when the mice were pretending to be pigs (Polish). They donned masks and it was just so poignant of an illustration: hiding yourself to survive. It’s really subtle and really brilliant.
For me, though, I was just as engrossed by the interactions between Art, his father, and his step-mother Mala. They were funny and sad at the same time. The story of Anja, Art’s mother, is tragic and brought me to tears more than once. (In a public place, no less!)
I’ll leave you now with some pages from the story, so they can speak for themselves:
98% – Really, you can’t miss this one. If you read nothing else that I recommend, please read this. (And if you come softly).
Other reviews (Some are the complete Maus, including I & II):
At Home with Books
Jackets & Covers
Trish’s Reading Nook
Lesley’s Book Nook
Reading in Appalachia
Books of Mee
A Fondness for Reading
Life in the Thumb
books i done read
things mean a lot