Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Maus I: My Father Bleeds History by Art Spiegelman

Wow. This is the first graphic novel I have every read and I was pleasantly surprised! Who knew that a graphic novel could make me feel…

Going into this book I was expecting a comical read and chaotic pictures drawn everywhere. I knew it was about Nazi Germany but I was imagining something more satirical and messy. I was not expecting such a touching story with such ease of reading. Really, the graphics of the story-line flowed effortlessly. The illustrations were nothing astounding however reading it was surprisingly stress-free. I really did not expect to appreciate a graphic novel on the first try.

The plot to this book is heart wrenching. Yes it surrounds the Nazi’s and Poland during the war so as one may suspect, it is not an overall cheerful read. That being said I think that Spiegelman did a fantastic job taking such a serious and personal story and turning it, quite literally, into a work of art. Maus is something different, something interesting, and something that could be used as a diverse tool to spread history to a totally different market of readers. This is a perfect way to get a “history lesson” to someone with a more visual way of learning and I think it would be splendid if this book were implemented into the schools.  

I love the aspect of making the characters into animals. It makes it a little less, um, politically correct? I understand there is some debate surrounding this however I have to say I enjoyed it. I refuse to get political in my reviews nevertheless the mouse/pig/cat aspect was, in my personal opinion, a bit humorous. I think that Spiegelman had some fun when he was publishing this story.

I also want to touch on the father/son relationship. I thought that the relationship between Vladek and Artie is probably very realist. After reading what Vladek went through I am coming to terms with why he acted the way he did to his son and second wife Mala. The war was tough on him, as it was for any Jewish family, and in turn made him stubborn and cheap. I love how all the current relationships are not sugar coated. I think that it is evident that Vladek is a survivor who loved one woman with all his heart. 

I really liked it. 

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