So here is my second read for this challenge (out of six). I looked to see if anyone else had reviewed Maus here, but it looks like it may just be on people's lists so far. Please let me know if you've reviewed it here and I missed it!
The Complete Maus consists of both Maus I and II, bound together in a hardcover volume. I wanted to read them both together, to get the full story, and I am very glad I did. Maus is the story of Art Spiegelman's father, Vladek, and how he survived the holocaust. In the graphic novel, Jews are drawn as mice, Germans are cats, Poles are pigs, French are frogs, and Americans are dogs. The drawings make the material more unrealistic and yet they also draw us in more to the fact that though it seems unreal, this really happened.
Vladek survived the holocaust mainly through luck, but also by taking advantage of the situations he finds himself in. His wife, Art's mother, also survives, but ends up committing suicide more than 20 years later. The novel is not just about the holocaust, but it also documents Art's efforts to get his father's story. He does not have a very good relationship with his cantankerous father, and the novel shows how he has a difficult time being fair to his story. It gives the work more depth, and makes it that much more real to the reader. So much has already been said about this book, but I had never gotten around to reading it. I am so glad I did, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who has ever considered picking it up.