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Book Review: The Complete Maus

January 25, 2011

The Complete MausThe Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Complete Maus is a holocaust story, but not like one you’ve ever read before. The author tells the story of his father, Vladek, a Polish Jew living through WWII, surviving Nazi occupation and Auschwitz thanks to his resourcefulness and good providence. However, the author also reveals his strained relationship with his father as he tells not only his father’s story, but also the story of Vladek sharing his experience with his son.

Not only does the father-son dynamic make the book interesting, but the blend of words and pictures make it unique. You see, Maus is a graphic novel. In fact, it is the only graphic novel to have won the Pulitzer Prize.

The author portrays the different nationalities and religions in the book each as a different animal. Maus = German for mouse. Jews are drawn as mice, Germans as cats, etc. This metaphor works to show the ridiculousness of dividing people along these lines.

An honest, open, emotional true story, I highly recommend this graphic novel to anyone.

Not only was Maus a book club selection, but it was Jeff’s pick. That means we hosted the discussion, and we had some fun with it. When people showed up, they were greeted with the following choice:

Each mask represented a different nationality/religion from the book.

Of course, I forgot to take a picture of the food spread before everyone went through, but Jeff tried to have it reflect the book as much as possible.

We had crackers, chunks of cheese, summer sausage, turkey kielbasa, Bavarian sausages, rustic bread, rolls, jams and jellies (including Polish gooseberry), and Polish dessert cookies. Yum!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jen permalink
    January 25, 2011 11:26 am

    Those books are excellent.

  2. Lisa permalink
    January 25, 2011 4:45 pm

    You’ve inspired me to read it. I just finished Night by Elie Wiesel so my mind is on the holocaust right now.

  3. February 2, 2011 9:42 am

    You and Jeff do such interesting things!

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