Maus tells Holocaust survivor’s story in a new way


Photo Credit: Kelly Branco

Because of it's composition this novel won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992.

By: Kelly Branco, Reporter and Book Nook Editor

January is Holocaust remembrance month so this month I will be reviewing books surrounding the Holocaust. The first book this month, well series, is the Maus series by Art Spiegelman. Spiegelman tells the story of his parent’s experiences in the Holocaust.


There are two books in the series. The first book tells the story of how Art’s mother, Anja, and his father, Vladek met. The second tells the story of how his parents lived in the concentration camps until the end of the war. He switches back and forth between the present and the past. Every single character is an animal. Spiegelman depicts Jewish people as mice, the Nazi Germans as cats, the Polish people as pigs, the French as frogs, and the Americans as dogs. The first book is titled: My Father Bleeds History and the second novel is titled: And Here My Troubles Began.


This book was totally new to me. I have never read a graphic novel before. It’s a very easy read and can be finished quickly. It was refreshing, a whole new take on a devastating story.

It’s interesting to see Art’s relationship with his father in the present day. He seems to not have a super good relationship with him as they argue a lot and this affects Art from getting the story from his father quicker.

He also shows the contrast between the way that his father lives now and then and how his mindset changed because of the Holocaust. For example, there is a scene where Art’s father insists to return back some cereal that he didn’t finish to the store, even though it is opened. Art and his wife both became embarrassed when Vladek insists to go. He says something al0ng the lines of “after Hitler, I’ve learned to save everything for what it’s worth”. This hit home because we usually just throw things out and don’t care about them but his father is right. In the concentration camps, many people used every single resource they had.  There was no other way yet, we throw everything away because we think we’re entitled to it.

I liked how Art didn’t take any gory details out, or anything that may not be fit for a cartoon. He kept every single detail in to make sure the story got across.  For example, his father’s brief affair with Lucia before he had met his mother, and the way that his father was tortured.

I think my favorite part of the story was the love story. Vladek and Anja, despite their separation in the camp they still tried to find a way to get together and make sure one another was okay. This was beautiful and shows that love will always find a way even in the darkest times.

Final Thoughts

Normally, you wouldn’t expect a graphic novel/cartoon/comic strip type story to be as dark and serious but Art Spiegelman puts it together wonderfully. I really enjoyed reading this and I think it’s a great way to remember the survivors of the Holocaust and to commemorate those who died in the tragedy.