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Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History (1986)

by Art Spiegelman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Maus: A Survivor's Tale (1), Maus (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,323246668 (4.43)1 / 399
The author-illustrator traces his father's imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp through a series of disarming and unusual cartoons arranged to tell the story as a novel.

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 Book talk: Group Read: Maus by Art Spiegelman113 unread / 113KWharton, June 2022

» See also 399 mentions

English (238)  French (2)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  Italian (1)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (245)
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EducatingParents.org rating: Danger - Explicit Content
Book deals with tough subjects not suitable children.

Booklooks.org -
This book contains graphic violence; hate involving Jewish people; mild/infrequent profanity; and references to suicide.
  MamaBear297 | Nov 25, 2023 |
This is why it is crucial to take comics seriously! I’ve always been a fan of comic work, and I love manga, but this is so good! A piece of art as well as being a nonfictional historical account of the war. ( )
  Elise3105 | Aug 13, 2023 |
Don't get this book without also having the sequel to hand, as they follow on and I was totally invested in this by the end and desperate to read more. ( )
  robfwalter | Jul 31, 2023 |
There is a son interviewing his father about his time during the holocaust. The two meet in the evenings and the father tells his stories of hiding and moving around during the war. The son was born later after the war, and is documenting his father's experience. ( )
  KimAMoore | Jul 24, 2023 |
I'm not sure how to begin my review for this book. This is probably going to end up being a giant jumbled mess of my thoughts, but here we go...

I know this book was published in the 80s, but I didn't know about it until a few weeks ago. I didn't read this book in school, and was made aware of it by social media. Initially, I was under the impression it was a novel, so imagine my surprise when it arrived and my boyfriend said to me, "you know that's a comic book, right?"

To put as a kind-of disclaimer, I am not the biggest comic or graphic novel reader. I have a very imaginative mind and prefer letting the words create images in my own head, hence why I would rather enjoy the book than its movie or show adaptation, too. So perhaps this is one of the reasons why this book didn't entirely resonate with me, but at the same time I couldn't help but think that a comic book was a rather unconventional way of retelling a story with such gravity as this one. I will admit that yes, since this book's main audience is for middle grade and above, the unconventionalness of a comic book does work in its favour. It even says in the later parts of the comic that Artie's dad is interested in reading this comic despite it being his own story and him never having had an interest in comics.

So... I do agree that the comic-style does bring a pull of attention to this book, which is very important because stories like this should be told to everyone, everywhere, so that history never repeats itself. But... I don't know. I personally just felt like reading such a heavy topic and personal experience in this style was strange, and not in the best way. It's really hard to put my thoughts and feelings about this book in words, but to try my best, it just felt... ingenuine to a degree, to mold this story into simple pictures and condensed words. But again, that's just me, and perhaps my preference to novels is a part of the reason I feel this way.

Another thing I noticed was the strain and tension between Artie and his father. Their relationship is, to say the least, quite bizarre. Throughout the entire book, I kept thinking "why is Artie being so pushy and insensitive towards his father, when this must be such a difficult topic to talk about?" and kept pushing away my own thoughts with the justification that "perhaps it's because this is a comic and words have to be somewhat condensed so that it doesn't drag on and on and on"... but that still didn't sit entirely right with me.

There are also multiple instances in the book where he'd be frustrated with his father for being "frugal", which was wild to me because he knew very well what kind of life his father went through. I can understand the frustration to a degree, as my family can be like this as well (my father's side comes from poverty), but the complete lack of understanding from Artie was alarming. Oh, and I don't even know how to summarise my thoughts about the comic regarding his mother's suicide...

Moving on, I don't know what my thoughts are on the racism portrayed in this book. Quite frankly, I don't think I have enough knowledge on this subject matter to properly discuss it, and I do not want to be insensitive or insulting towards anyone (or group of people). All I will say is, I have seen some reviews discussing how the portrayal of different groups of people being portrayed as animals (Germans = cats, Jews = mice, Polish = pigs) is a result of Artie (or his father's) racism. Personally, I thought it was just a way for the author to portray the division between the groups of people at the time in a way that would be simple enough for middle grade readers to understand. But then I thought about how, since society tends to view pigs (the animals) in a negative light, wouldn't these kids grow up to view the Polish people in a negative light as well..? And then I started going down a spiral of my own thoughts because I didn't know what to make of it all.

I feel like up until now I said some not-so-positive things about this book, but overall I did not dislike the premise of it. I think it's very important to keep educating the humankind of historical events and bring awareness to real stories that real people experienced, because the best thing we can do is keep learning and stay aware. It was also very educational to learn about the different ways that Vladek and his family had to utilise their resources to survive.

I plan on reading the second book to further educate myself, because I have made it a goal in 2023 to read more historical nonfiction books to widen my knowledge of the past.

Anywho, I decided to give this book a 3 star rating because I honestly did not know how to rate this book using just stars. The only reason I decided on 3 is because that, to me, feels like a neutral middleground, and I feel very neutral (albeit heavily conflicted) about this book. Who knew a comic could make me feel this kind of way?! Not me. This was a very new experience.

I hope I didn't offend anyone with my review, it is not my intention to do so, and if you have any thoughts on my opinions or think you could help me resolve my confusions, please let me know! ( )
  aubriebythepage | Jul 7, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 238 (next | show all)
Making a Holocaust comic book with Jews as mice and Germans as cats would probably strike most people as flippant, if not appalling. ''Maus: A Survivor's Tale'' is the opposite of flippant and appalling. To express yourself as an artist, you must find a form that leaves you in control but doesn't leave you by yourself. That's how ''Maus'' looks to me - a way Mr. Spiegelman found of making art.

» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Spiegelman, Artprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Amorim, FernandoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carano, RanieriTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mouly, FrancoiseEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
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"The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but they are not human." Adolf Hitler
For Anja
Purdue Jewish Studies Program
First words
It was summer, I remember I was ten or eleven...
No, darling!
To die it’s easy...
but you have to struggle for life!
Until the last moment we must struggle together!
I need you!
And you’ll see that together we’ll survive.
This always I told to her.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
This is the single volume edition of "Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History". It does NOT contain the second volume of the story, Maus II.

DO NOT COMBINE with the omnibus edition containing both Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History and Maus II: A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began!!!
Publisher's editors
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

The author-illustrator traces his father's imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp through a series of disarming and unusual cartoons arranged to tell the story as a novel.

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AR 3.2, 3 Pts
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Average: (4.43)
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