I was a little put off by the art when I first picked up the book. The drawings are blocky and black and white and the people are all mice. As I read, I became engrossed in the story, which shifts between the present day relationship of the author (Art) with his miser father, and the father’s (Vladek) struggle through WWII and Auschwitz. Vladek’s story is a harrowing one, filled with death and despair, but also ingenuity and a will to survive, which helps to get him through the Holocaust. In the present day, Art is a neurotic son who is embarrassed and annoyed of his father for his miserly ways.
I found some affinity in the author’s relationship with his father. My parents went through the hardships of war, and the relationship I have with my father is similarly filled with tension and resentment. I also have wondered what it would be like to live with my parents again, and whether I could take care of them in their old age.