Night & Maus: Book Review

I just finished reading two incredible books over the summer, Night by Eli Wiesel and Maus by Art Spiegelman. Both books were extraordinary literary works that educated readers about the Holocaust and provided them with real experiences from survivors. I learned a lot from reading these books as it taught me important life lessons. I was able to understand this historic event in more depth by understanding the two different perspectives of both books. 

Photo from the 1982 Bantam Books edition of Night

Photo from the 1982 Bantam Books edition of Night

Night was a regular novel while Maus was a graphic novel. It was interesting to compare and contrast these two writing styles because they are very different from each other. One was written as a story and only used words while the other used images and drawings. Readers were able to learn how these styles were used and discover the different techniques involved in it. For instance, reading a graphic novel is different from a traditional novel because the pictures tell the story, not the words. The main role of the words in Maus are to capture dialogue and caption images. Meanwhile the words of Night tell the entire story. 

These two books gave me a really vivid image of the Holocaust. They also provided me with the history of this life-changing event. Night was written by someone who personally lived through this devastating experience. The author explained the difficulties and hardships he faced while in the ghettos and concentration camps and how he managed to survive. On the other hand, Maus was written by the son of a Holocaust survivor. This book is not a primary source and therefore is not as detailed and reliable. However, it provided me with great insight about how the Holocaust affected future generations to come. Both books are exceptional sources in understanding the events that took place at this time. I also got a clear understanding of the authors’ emotions based on the descriptive words or facial expressions of the artwork. 

Although both books are incredible literary works, I personally preferred reading Maus. This is because this was my first time reading a graphic novel and I found it really interesting. The characters were also established as anthropomorphic animals such as mice, pigs, and cats. This appealed to my interests because it was something I had never encountered in a book before and the symbolism was done very well. I would definitely recommend this book, along with Night, to my peers or any other readers interested in the topic.