AUTHOR: Art Spiegelman
SUMMARY: Art Spiegelman writes about his father’s experience during the Holocaust.
GENRE: Graphic Novel | Memoir | Non-Fiction | Historical
This is one graphic novel that I keep seeing everywhere whenever I’m looking for new comics to read, but I’ve never read it until now. I really enjoyed this novel and it even brought me out of a reading slump, but I had teensy weensy problems with it.
First thing, the art. On one hand, I love everything he was able to say through the art alone by depicting the people through animals like rats, cats, dogs, and pigs, even the foreshadowing was great… But, I didn’t love the art style. I found it distracting and busy at first and it took me a while before I could distinguish what was happening in each panel. I read one review that called the drawings simplistic, and they are, but they also felt very busy to me.
Spiegelman may have chosen to draw people as animals, but that didn’t make the story any easier to read about. Sure it’s not as graphic as Schindler’s List or any film dealing with the Holocaust, but it’s still a difficult story to digest.
The story’s focus is about Vladek’s survival of the Holocaust, but it’s also about Artie and Vladek’s strained father-son relationship. This is the part of the story I didn’t care much about, although it adds layers to Vladek’s character, and we’re able to see Artie cope with the Holocaust as the son of Holocaust survivors. It’s great for the drama and maybe I would have found it interesting in another book, if the A storyline wasn’t about the Holocaust.
Because Artie was able to inject himself into the story, he was able to break the fourth wall as an author several times in the story. It was interesting to see a bit of Artie’s process as a graphic novelist, and how he compiled the information he needed. This shows that this is just as much his story as his father’s.
The main reason I’m not giving this 5 stars is because of the art style and the father son drama. But, I would still recommend this graphic novel.