Book Review: Maus by Art Spiegelman

Hey guys and dolls,

Welcome to another book review and today we have a graphic novel I would like to discuss because I study MDes (BA Hons) Illustration, graphic novels and children’s publishing. Personally, I don’t know where I want to go with this degree but what I do know is that I want to do general illustration including surface patterns and fashion illustration because you know, that’s what I’m into and I am not too keen on graphic novels as it is. I can understand it as a type of art form but however I… doesn’t see myself in that career as a graphic novelist. In fact, before this degree, I thought graphic Novels were for children and comic books such as Marvel and D.C comics which I shouldn’t be admitting.

I have read Maus before when I was eleven because well, it was for children I remember my headmistress saying and all the school children were talking about it and I thought I might give it ago since I think I finished the My Story book series.  I didn’t quite understand what Maus was all about till I got a history lesson when I was in secondary school about the Holocaust and Poland during the World War 2. I am a huge history nerd anyway, and I needed to read it again but I couldn’t find it in libraries or bookshops and after that, it was in the back of my mind.

Till my graphic novel/illustrator tutor told me about Maus in the lecture and how the difference between Comics and Comix (a whole blog post that I need to do on my art blog) and I kept my eye open for Maus after he mentioned it so I could read it.   I found it in the BHF (I try not to buy books new) beside Twilight series by Stephine Meyer. From the moment I brought it, I just read it, read it before the bus home, during the travel sickness on the bus and when I sat on my bed instead of being on my phone. I was so engrossed.

Right, what is the book actually about then?

This is about Art Spiegelman father, his view on before Germany invaded Poland, as the invaded Poland and afterwards. His father is a Jew so he went through the terrors of the holocaust and to imagine I read this when I was 11 but I didn’t know the seriousness of it especially when I read it again 10 years on  and some pages hit me like a tonne of bricks and it was like ‘whoa’ at some parts.

The visual langue of this is very well thought out and I think how he portrayed the characters that appealed to me as a child. How the mice were Jewish folk, then the cats were Nazi’s, the polish is pigs, French are frogs and the Americans are dogs.  Animal and kids always a perfect mixture, and animals are all the rage when you’re a kid.

In the middle of the book, it shown Art Spiegelman’s struggle on trying to carry on writing this due to his father death and how he went to the therapist as well… and now I’m thankful I didn’t understand this as a kid too because now looking at this it’s a very grown-up graphic novel aimed at teenagers (and of course adults).

If you have a chance on wanting to read this I provided an Amazon link to the book on the UK Site if this book is your sort of thing.

So, I shall see you soon over the moon very soon.

Loads and loads of love,

Alexandra

xxx

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