Top positive review
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Raw, Painful and Personal.
on May 4, 1998
This is a powerful work. The tale of a young man's painful relationship with his father is elegantly interwoven with the father's recollection of life as a Jew in Nazi-occupied Poland. Spiegelman's skill and honesty make this a raw, gut-wrenching read, though the tale is somehow ultimately uplifting.
I first read this book as a teenager, and would highly recommend it to people of any age. Over the years, I have re-read it frequently and shared it with friends of all ages. All have taken much from Spiegelman's tale.
A few notes must be made in response to the 10/26/97 comment posted below by a reviewer from Ontario, Canada. It is quite clear that this reviewer did not, in fact, read the book. (S)he mistakenly attacks Spiegelman for portraying the Poles as rats, and wonders if he would be offended if a book were written portraying Jews as rats. Anyone who took the time to read Maus (or merely to examine it's cover!) would know that it is, in fact, the Jewish people who are portrayed as mice/rats, whereas the Poles are portrayed not as vermin, but rather as pigs.
In fact, far from a "vicious" attack against Poles, there are many acts of kindness by Polish people portrayed in the book. Certainly there is unkindness as well, but how can the reviewer forget that this is a factual account of Vladek Spiegelman's life, told from his perspective. If unkind acts by Polish people are a part of that life, then they should be in the book.
Finally, the reviewer in question inelegantly raises a point of some merit, though it is one that is only tangentially related to Spiegelman's work. The Polish people did, in fact, suffer horribly at the hands of both Nazis and Soviets alike. Their death toll in the concentration camps numbered in the millions, and should never be forgotten or omitted when discussing the Holocaust. This book, however, is about Vladek Spiegelman, and so surely it cannot be assailed for its focus on events from his perspective.
Spiegelman's fidelity to his father's! story is to be admired, not attacked. And certainly not by a reviewer who could not be bothered to read the book.