Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman

"The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but they are not human."
Adolf Hitler

Probably the most powerful narrative I've ever read about the Holocaust, the Pulitzer-Prize winning The Complete Maus should be required reading in high school. It should be required reading before entering the Holocaust museum in D.C.

Written and illustrated in graphic novel form, Art Spiegelman has related the history of his Jewish parents and their horrific experiences during WWII with tiny pictures. Pictures and words that impact your very soul.

Told through the eyes of himself, the child of survivors, and his father, Vladek Spiegelman, Maus begins, and is interspersed with, an account of his relationship with his father in Vladek's later years, and then travels back in time, to Poland in the 1930's as his father remembers in great detail what happened to his mother, his brother, and the rest of his family during the war.

I cried.
It was gut-wrenching.
It was horrific.
It was interesting and historical.
When discussing his current relationship with his father, it was even funny.

To look at its cover, you'd have no idea of the epic beneath. A comic book about the Holocaust, who would've thought? The perfect outlet for adults and especially children to learn about one of the most tragic events in world history.

In an age where the term "Nazi" is thrown around like the word "the" nowadays, a book like this brings back the harsh reality of the insurmountable error of using a term that caused such misery and suffering to millions upon millions of people, and not just them, but their descendants.

This book is a triumph to the human spirit and what we are capable of enduring and surviving as a human race. Probably the best book I've read so far this year.
5 stars


Rebecca Reid said...

I too loved this book! So powerful and yet so painful and yet so incredible. I loved how it was told from today's point of view. After all, such a past never stops affecting us. That was clear from Art's perspective looking at his father!

Amanda said...

The other day I saw Part II for sale at my Half Price Books but no Part I and no complete volume, so I passed on it. I really need to read this though. Maybe for the readathon.

L said...

I couldn't believe I'd never heard of it before. It's definitely worth buying. Do you have a review of this somewhere Rebecca?

Rebecca Reid said...

yes, Lula, I reviewed it here. I think it was my first graphic novel ever.

hamilcar barca said...

i am alarmed at the number of people who claim the Holocaust is a piece of liberal fiction, that 6 million Jews weren't really murdered, and that Hitler was just a German nationalist.

what utter hogwash! i hope books continue to be written about it, and that museums continue to post the mind-numbing photos. may we never forget Man's inhumanity to Man.

L said...

Here-here, Hamilcar. I'm so sick of the Nazi term being thrown around. People seem to have forgotten how horrible it was. And the wackos who think it didn't happen, are just that, wackos.

Amanda - Did I mention these books are definitely worth buying?? Come on, you know you want to..

L said...

Oh, and Rebecca, your review was excellent! Way better than mine. I should include more detail I guess.

Rebecca Reid said...

thanks lula, I'm just VEEEEERY long winded. I like to write when it comes to reviews.

Julie said...

Lula and Rebecca - Your incredible reviews have so inspired me to read this!

L said...

Thanks Julie! It really was an amazing book.