This one (or two, as the case may be) has been sitting on my shelf, waiting to be reviewed for waaay too long. Today’s review is on Maus I and II by Art Spiegelman, which I got from my sister as a gift ages ago. I originally heard about this series on one of the Booktube accounts that I follow and it sounded amazing! So, I obviously had to see what other people thought about the series. I was intrigued pretty much right away. It sounded so imaginative and phenomenal that I had to check it out for myself. I’ve read the series 3 or 4 times and love it so much that I have to tell you guys about it right now! I love the adaptation on the typical format (Jews are depicted as mice and the nazis as cats) in this graphic novel series. The main character is a mouse named Vladek who survives the holocaust and tells us all about the war from his profound perspective. Whoa, I’m obviously way too excited about this series and I need to slow down and get to our summary!
As I was saying above, our main character is a mouse named Vladek, who tells his son, Art about how his life was before and during WWII. He describes how he met his wife, Anja and the heartache that they endured in order to stay together. After the birth of their first son, Richieu, Anja was having a very difficult time. She became quite depressed and suicidal. At this time, the nazis were rising to power and oppressing the Jewish people more and more everyday. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I read about how savvy and street-smart Vladek was. He seemed to rescue them over and over again, although not without struggles of varying levels. Vladek was able to use contacts and bribes to get food and lodging for him and Anja, which left me wondering if I would have been half as brave as he was. However, just like many people that were hiding from the nazis during this time, bribes and social contacts only work for so long. Sigh. I was really amazed at the power of human survival and strength of character represented in this series.
Let me just start by saying that I loved this series and found it to be friggin amazing. It feels really good to get that out of my system. Although, maybe I should say more about what makes this series so fantastic. I loved the graphic novel format and really felt like it helped to take the stories and events of the holocaust and make them more personally relevant. I loved Vladek and Anja as central characters. I thought that Spiegelman did a fantastic job of expressing their humanity and vulnerability. I loved the pacing of this series because it kept me interested the entire time. I also adored the writing style, which gave voice to the main characters’ fears and ambitions. I think it’s fairly clear at this stage of the review that I loved freaking everything about this series. Just to be clear though, was there anything I didn’t love as much? Absolutely not. Not at all. This series is perfect and I would definitely recommend it to everyone, especially history addicts, people who love stories with amazing character development, and a quirky spin on conventional storytelling styles. This series was absolutely incredible.