This story is uniquely told using a graphic novel style of writing and illustration. Artie wants to write a book about his father, Vladek, and the time he lived in Poland. The father’s memories are vivid, decades later. Vladek begins his story in 1936, before the war started. The use of broken English brings an authenticity to Vladek’s dialog. Gradually, freedom, employment, privileges that were earned and enjoyed are reduced until they are completely yanked out from under him and he is forced into a concentration camp. Sadly, the things that were done to survive profoundly affect the future including the father’s relationship with his son. They don’t always get along as they are of two different worlds. Conveyed in this format, the story is just as sharp as if written as a novel.
Interestingly, the author chose to represent Jewish people as mice while Nazis are portrayed as cats. In 1992, this book won a Pulitzer Prize.