With jarring accuracy and a seemingly innocent, obviously deceptive presentation, Art Spiegelman, renowned author/cartoonist, makes well-placed flashbacks and evenly spaced real-time dialogues flow smoothly as he paints a perfect picture of the horrific events of the Holocaust in his phenomenal two-book series Maus.
Spiegelman's use of symbolism is the driving force and intentional focus of these well-written, accurately detailed books. The World War II era becomes a "maus-trap," with the Jews of Europe being defenseless mice, being taken away by Polish pigs and German Nazi rats. Art's parents are the main characters of these flashbacks, both being prisoners of Auchswitz-Birkenau. Strong character development allows us to observe their metamorphosis in a realistic, emotional progression.
Art's conflict with the world is an amazing inner battle in which even the weakest feelings are eloquently shown and the reader truly feels for his situation. The candid wording makes the books all the more shocking. Deliberately overly simplistic, this sensational diction makes the books moving.
These incredible books are enjoyable in the sense that they are fun to read and easy to adapt to; the scare factor, however, is enormous. Man's inhumanity to man is so blatantly frightening that one is obviously upset upon understanding the deeper points. Well-paced and intriguing, this series educates, informs and enlightens the reader.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.