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Maus: what age for this graphic novel?

(13 Posts)
TizzyDongue Tue 31-Jan-17 20:39:32

DS is a big fan of searching though charity shop books. He called into on today on the way home from school - it was 5 for £1 so needless to say he came home with 5!!

Anyway one of them was Maus:

Check out this book on Goodreads: The Complete Maus (Maus, #1-2)

It seems fairly heavy going but there's mixed guidance on the age some sites say USA 6th grade (11-12 I think) but others say 15+.

Anyone read it and can suggest? (I'm unlikely to read it myself but will if not needed!!).

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TizzyDongue Tue 31-Jan-17 20:40:25

If needed, not not needed

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cdtaylornats Wed 01-Feb-17 08:42:14

It is about the Jewish (mice) experiences with Germans (cats) so not light hearted but it is good. No sex whatsoever.

Analysis below

TizzyDongue Wed 01-Feb-17 09:10:50

Thanks - I realise I forgot to say, he's 13.

It wasn't sex I'd been thinking about, more the horrors of the Holocaust. For whatever reason when I open that link I keep getting divereted to a 'you've won 500' just give us your mobile and we'll subscrib you to text that cost a tenner each time )

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cdtaylornats Wed 01-Feb-17 09:28:21

The summary is -

As a story about the Holocaust in comic form, Art Spiegelman’s Maus accomplishes the seemingly impossible. Maus tells the story of Spiegelman’s father, Vladek, and his experience as a Polish Jew during the Holocaust. Running parallel to the story is the story of Spiegelman’s interactions with his father as he visits his father on numerous occasions to record his memories. All of the characters are represented as animals: the Jews are mice, the Germans are cats, the Americans are dogs, and so on. Within this seemingly simplistic framework, Maus confronts the terrifying reality of the Holocaust, the systematic genocide of millions and millions of Jews carried out by the Nazi regime during World War II.

Widely acclaimed, Maus received a special Pulitzer Prize in 1992 and was the subject of a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Part I, “My Father Bleeds History,” appeared in 1986, followed by Part II, “And Here My Troubles Began,” in 1991; both parts are now available in a single volume, The Complete Maus: A Survivor’s Tale.

Maus is considered a representative work in second-generation Holocaust literature, literature about the Holocaust written from the perspective of the survivors’ children. As the critic Arlene Fish Wilner explains, “In the Jewish tradition, the transmission of familial and communal history from parent to child is a sacred obligation” (source). Inheriting and preserving their parents’ stories is a way for children to connect with their families’ pasts. This becomes especially important when you think about the fact that whole families were wiped out during the Holocaust.

Yet Maus also inherits the special problem that all Holocaust literature has to deal with when it tries to confront this historical catastrophe: How can any form of representation – literary, cinematic, visual – do justice to what happened in the Holocaust? Isn’t any representation going to fall short in the face of such horror?

Maus tackles this problem by using an unconventional medium: the comic. Spiegelman was a key figure in the underground comic scene, which emerged in the 1960s. Unlike mainstream comics with their superheroes, underground comics challenged all forms of authority and took a darkly ironic view of society.

Spiegelman exploits the comic form in Maus to unsettle the reader, playing with panel frames and arrangements and with his own animal motif to unsettle the reader’s expectations. Within the comic, Spiegelman reflects a lot on the making of Maus, inviting the reader to inhabit his creative process. In using a form of popular culture to talk about serious historical issues, and by reflecting on the form within the text itself, Maus is also considered a postmodern text.

Spiegelman once remarked, “In making Maus, I found myself drawing every panel, every figure, over and over – obsessively – so as to pare it down to an essence, as if each panel was an attempt to invent a new word, rough-hewn but stream-lined” (source). Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of Maus is its excruciating honesty about the difficulties of capturing his father’s story, of capturing the Holocaust.

BlossomCat Wed 01-Feb-17 09:33:55

My two both read Maus at about that age. I thought it was an important book for them to read, as it makes the people who went through the holocaust very real.

TheHobbitMum Wed 01-Feb-17 09:34:42

My teens had read it and enjoyed it, perfectly fine for a 13 yr old

exexpat Wed 01-Feb-17 09:35:10

Is he a mature, thoughtful 13? I would have been OK with DD reading it at 13, but by that age I had already taken her to visit Auschwitz, Hiroshima and various other memorials to inhumanity...

TheHobbitMum Wed 01-Feb-17 09:35:54

I should add by enjoyed they liked how it explained the holocaust & politics if the time and how it affected the "mice"

TizzyDongue Wed 01-Feb-17 17:03:14

He's quite an aware 13 year old - interest in politics and history.

I suppose in worried there's something in it that'll haunt him. I'll have to read it myself I think!!

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RalphSteadmansEye Fri 03-Feb-17 20:48:50

13 is the perfect age. It's a set text in yr 9 at a school I know.

Ds read it in yr 8, I think.

thereinmadnesslies Fri 03-Feb-17 20:54:36

I think 13 is ok. It's one of those texts where you can read it on loads of different levels. So a 13 year old might be affected by different things to an adult.

There are some shocking images - the pile of dead mice at auschwitz stands out. And some fairly adult themes as well as the obvious holocaust storyline. - The main character's mother kills herself post war and in another section Art retells the story of his older brother being killed by his aunt out of fear of capture.

It's one of my favourite books about the holocaust, I wrote my MA dissertation on it.

MsAmerica Sat 11-Feb-17 20:06:39

Somehow, Hobbit Mum, to say that teens "enjoyed" it seems like the wrong word.

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