Spoiler alert: There aren’t any happy books about the holocaust

Conversation with Victor at the resale bookstore:

Victor:  You are not allowed to buy that book.

me:  The fuck I’m not.

Victor:  You’re depressed enough as it is.  Go pick out something happy.

me:  It’s a comic book, for God’s sake.

Victor:  It’s a comic book about the holocaust.

me:  Yes, but all the characters are mice and cats and they’re fucking adorable.

Victor:  No.

me:  Look, I’ve already read the first book and I need to know what happens in part two.  I’ve been emotionally hijacked by this “Maus” story for the last year.

Victor:  Remember that time when I had to hide all your Sylvia Path books from you?

me:  This is nothing like that.  It’s a comic book and I’m buying it.

2 hours later…

Victor:  What’s wrong, mopey?

me:  I’m sad.

Victor:  Why?

me:  …about the holocaust.


me:  I know but I thought it would have a happy ending.


me:  Can I have a hug?

Victor:  No.  If I give you a hug you’ll never learn.

me:  But I’ll feel better if you just hug me.

Victor:  No.  I’m mad at you.

me:  You’re mad at me?!  I’M ALREADY UPSET ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST.  I don’t need your judgement right now.

Victor:  You brought this on yourself.

me:  Just tell me that there won’t be a holocaust.

Victor:  Dude.  There already was a holocaust.  You just. fucking. read. about it.

me:  I meant ANOTHER holocaust, obviously.

Victor:  *sigh*  Fine.  There won’t be another holocaust.  Better?

me:  No, because you’re not really saying it like you mean it.

Victor:  Just get out.

Comment of the day: I would *so* hug you. Not just because you’re sad about the Holocaust, but because I have a deep-seated urge to hold you in my arms, sing you a lullaby and hopefully steal a glimpse of your boobs. But I’m torn because I was raised Jewish, so *you* should probably be hugging *me* about the Holocaust.  Sigh.  The stupid Holocaust is coming between us.  Thanks again, Hitler. ~ alonewithcats

90 thoughts on “Spoiler alert: There aren’t any happy books about the holocaust

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I torture myself like that all the time. And I think you deserve a hug. I’m glad you read it. Avoiding sad stories doesn’t make them any less sad for those who live through them.
    .-= angelynn´s last blog ..No, I’m not OK. =-.

  2. I just started reading “The Painted Bird” & am already beginning to regret it. Unfortunately, it’s a sizeable novel….looks like I might have a couple depressing weeks ahead of me! Maybe if I try to read it very very fast…. *virtual hug*

  3. I’m pretty sure holocaust jokes are off limits so I’ll just tell you watermelons are $3.99 at Trader Joe’s today. Watermelonsmake everyone happy. Especially if you coat them in crisco.
    .-= Elly Lou´s last blog ..Search Optimization-ish =-.

  4. He calls you “dude”? Cut him some slack. He’s pretty busy burying some other issues.

    Or not. Either way, remember, Animal Farm had cute little piggies in it and look how they turned out. Don’t trust animals. Even cute and/or delicious ones.
    .-= harmzie´s last blog ..Influence =-.

  5. He does call me “dude” but in his defense I call other girls “dude” too. I’m really more concerned about the lack of hugging. And the holocaust.

  6. the stubs controls movies in the same way….he can’t control the books…HA! i have a kindle. for all he knows i’m reading fairy tales all day

  7. I would *so* hug you. Not just because you’re sad about the Holocaust, but because I have a deep-seated urge to hold you in my arms, sing you a lullaby and hopefully steal another glimpse of your boobs. But I’m torn because I was raised Jewish, so *you* should probably be hugging *me* about the Holocaust. Sigh. The stupid Holocaust is coming between us. Thanks again, Hitler.
    .-= alonewithcats´s last blog ..Shit My Mom Says =-.

  8. The Holocaust sucks. And Rwanda and Sudan and all the times and places that humans have sucked and continue to suck. Humans are nasty mean assholes sometimes.
    .-= Deana Birks´s last blog ..I found a fairy =-.

  9. Would it be weird if I printed this out to show my therapist so I can say, “SEE??? It’s NOT JUST ME!!!”

    It would?

    Yeah, well, that’s probably why I’m seeing a therapist.

  10. Maus is SO good. Oh, and totally devastating. It’s, like, the bestworst adorable comic book about the Holocaust that I’ve ever read.
    .-= Ells´s last blog ..Miracles =-.

  11. I feel like this could be nearly any given day in my house. Right on down to the “No, if I hug you, you’ll never learn.”

    You’re my favorite blogger ever. I <3 you.

  12. the reason we learn about the holocaust is theoretically so history won’t repeat itself. so you are helping that, even if you are sad now. but at least there is hope for the future now, right?
    protecting ourselves/our children isn’t always good. it’s much better to read about then to let it happen again, anyway… (i think)
    here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uj4RBmU-PIo&playnext_from=TL&videos=ow7fJwIbQwA (not very happy either, but similar-ish graphics?)
    also, bones is cute too. have you read the bones graphic novels? probably a good cute alternative… or the bunny suicides (http://www.jimmyr.com/blog/Bunny_Suicide_Comic_Pics_226_2007.php). wait no. that’s sad. uhm… don’t click unless you only want a distraction…
    i think this blog is my favourite blog ever. and you are my favourite bloggess (which is not as good since there’s only one bloggess… but i already said the blog bit, so it should be okay.)
    *GASP!* there’s no captcha?! O_O

  13. I love telling this story of when I was in Poland in 1972 and I met this Jewish woman who was traveling to Greece to hook up with her fiancee (Bea Sekler what ever the hell happened to you?) and as chance encounters we traveled together as platonic friends for about ten days. But during one of those days of our brief encounter I suggested we visit Auschwitz so we could bear witness to man’s capacity for atrocity. She agreed & so we ventured. As soon as we passed the gate Bea fell to the ground & sobbed & sobbed and I immediately got scared. Bea’s sobs were no ordinary sobs….they were sobs of all of Israel. At this point she could venture no further…so she told me she would wait and that I should tour the compound on my own. I didn’t realize this until 1990…the year my mother died. For my mother’s last 8 years of her life she lived at our home with my wife and children. When mom died I told my wife….I feel weird that I can’t cry…and I know I have to. And my wife said, the tears will come when they have to. At my mother’s funeral Mass (I am a Polish Catholic) they played this beautiful song “Serdeczna Matko” and suddenly I fell apart….I sobbed & sobbed uncontrollably. It wasn’t only a sob about my mother…it was much deeper than that. It was something deeper…more at the roots of my being. It may be akin to what Bea was sobbing about…but who would ever know for sure. And yet, I’m glad to have had this experience. And see what your blog can trigger. peace, maze

  14. So, last week, I watched “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas”, which is officially the saddest thing ever committed to film. Going into it, I knew it wouldn’t have a happy ending, because I knew what it was about. I just never expected it to be *that* sad.

    I can feel your pain, as well as your rationalization.
    .-= Val´s last blog ..Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink =-.

  15. Victor’s right…there are NO happy books about the Holocaust…BUT if you’re going to be depressed, read Everything Is Illuminated. It’s really well done.

    Another one you shouldn’t read but you really should? Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – same author as Everything’s Illuminated (Jonathan Safran Foer). really amazing book. Depressing as fuck.

    (I was just about to say read them and then go read Peter Pan to make yourself feel better but then I realized that Peter Pan is depressing and is an extremely fucked up book itself…so yea, maybe you *shouldn’t* take my reading suggestions)

  16. Oh, wait, sounds like alonewithcats is a girl, I just read her blog. It was the “sneak a peek at your boobs” comment that made me think she was a man, which I realize now is just me not thinking outside of the box. Well anyway, no matter which way she swings, I could hook her up. She’s awfully funny.
    .-= juliejulie´s last blog ..Running in the Rainforest =-.

  17. you are right. it *is* hard to leave a witty comment about the holocaust. the 24 people before me are just the exception that confirms the rule
    .-= arbulua´s last blog ..On home and identity =-.

  18. I’m always here for a hug. Even though you live in Texas. And I’d have to fly. Like in a plane, obviously. And everything’s bigger in Texas and that kind of gives me anxiety. I’m lost where I live enough already. My FOURTH grade teacher made us read Anne Frank. I blame her for depression, anxiety, and K-Dub being an asshole.
    .-= MandyImnotfamousMoore´s last blog ..So K-Dubs friends hate turtles and I love sex toys =-.

  19. I once read a book like that where, at the end, the main bad guy crushed a big, plastic cup.

    After reading ‘SOLOcaust,’ I’ve never been able to use anything but glass to drink from.

    Talk about scarred. Jesus.
    .-= moooooog35´s last blog ..Motivational Filler – Precious =-.

  20. Tom Mazur: I’ve had a couple profound life changing moments like that so I could relate. Touching comment.

    Jenny: I’m right there with you. I also find an inner pull to that era in history, a time that was so sad but I feel I need to read and learn about it so I can teach my own children and hope that this will be a tiny step in breaking the cycle of ignorance in humans who carry out such horrible acts.
    .-= Gabrielle Valentine´s last blog ..I’ve So Much To Say… =-.

  21. At least yours was a comic book. I watched ‘The boy in the striped pyjamas’ thinking it would be okay because what’s so bad about a boy in pyjamas? I wanted to hug as many jewish people as I could possibly find afterwards and my boyfriend says ‘you can’t hug a rabbi coz you’re a girl’.

    But feel for you though, at least my date bought me a banana split later that night.
    .-= AlleyCat´s last blog ..No Regard for Royalty =-.

  22. There was a holocaust? I’m pretty sure that as a really important person someone should have told me.
    What? Why are you looking at me like that?
    No, seriously, I’m not a history major and all of a sudden I’m being insensitive? Oh, right, thanks, really MATURE.
    Christ, you get a bit edgy and all of a sudden everyone’s so ANGRY.

  23. If history teaches us anything it is that the only thing we learn from our mistakes is how to compound them. I once worked for a Jewish family who had lost most of their relatives in the holocaust. They owned a casino and one evening I overheard one of them instructing the manager how to deal with a dispute; He said,”throw him out he’s only a Paki.” I resigned on the spot telling him that he of all people should realise that “dehumanisation is the root of all man’s inhumanity to man”. They didn’t let me work my notice.
    .-= cathy´s last blog ..Too Irate to Celebrate. =-.

  24. Good lawd. Am I the only one to have been utterly derailed by the comment of the day from Alonewithcats? Jenny, your boobs now fill my head ( . )( . ) But I must say those boobs are making far better use of my cranial space than the previous tenant. Boobies make the world go round. Boobies are better than ice cream. Boobies could achieve world peace. It’s Sunday morning here so Happy Mammaries day, everyone! Jesus. I need coffee before being allowed online.
    P.S: I wasn’t breastfed, okay?
    .-= Meg´s last blog ..Pills, Pulp Fiction and Planetary Push =-.

  25. My friend, Paula, recently discovered Maus in her daughter’s pediatrician’s waiting room! Perhaps they’re just prepping the kids for the fact that shots aren’t THAT bad…I mean, jeez, it’s not the fucking holocaust! I think the doc should probably be closed by Child Services, but I can’t judge cuz I would’ve read it there. Also I say Fuck a lot and I think they immediately get involved when they hear that.
    .-= Tonya´s last blog ..Three Reasons You Should Know About Novelist Katherine Center =-.

  26. Victor is a keeper. Not only was he right about the comic book, but he let’s you call him ‘Dude’. I called my Ex dude and he was not having it. He was all, “Girls shouldn’t say Dude”, and i was all “Dude, I”ll say whatever the hell I want” and he was all… well anyway, I’m single now dude!
    .-= Janis @ Sneak Peek At Me´s last blog ..What Is The Importance Of A Family Vacation? =-.

  27. I’ll give you a hug. It never hurts…unless you’re hugging with vampire gloves, but that’s a *good* kind of hurt.

    Also, life jackets are 2-for-1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods. Which I share because it’s good news, I like saying that I went to Dick’s, and I’m not ruling out the possibility of there being another flood.

  28. I stay away from animal stories ever since I read Bunnicula as a child. Seriously, I was already concerned with monsters, now I have to worry about fuzzy bunnies, too???

    But your story is the reason I read happy-ending fiction, and Bunnicula’s the reason I read vampire books.

    P.S. I’d totally give you a hug.
    .-= Brandi´s last blog ..Loving :: CynthiaVardhan =-.

  29. Mr A is exactly the same. He is Jew-ish (heavily ‘ish’, not so much Jew) and I ignored the Holocaust growing up because it was ‘irrelevantly tragic’ (I know, right? What a dick.) and I had other things on my mind. Like puberty.
    So then I go and get myself a Jewish surname and pop me out a semi-Jewish kid and suddenly? Not so fucking irrelevant. So I started obsessively reading about it and watching films about it. And every single time I spend DAYS moping around while Mr A is all ‘What the hell did you do it again for?’ and I’m all ‘BECAUSE IT’S IMPORTANT’
    The worst time was when I was trying to watch The Piano online and by mistake downloaded The Pianist. Totally. Not. The. Same. I didn’t even finish it. It sickened and horrified and upset me in a way that even Schindler’s List didn’t. I sat through the whole thing hugging my little jew-ish baby and crying into her fat neck and promising her no one would ever do it again, that I wouldn’t let them, that I’d die before I let it happen.
    And then about a week later when everything had stopped being bleak and depressing and awful in my head and when I could see a child without sobbing, I realised that it’s still happening. There are people being massacred all over the world, right this second, and I’m not dying to stop it. I’m not throwing myself between a blade and a child. I’m not chained to the gates of Parliament. I’m not even donating to a Good Cause.
    And that made me realise that I’m still pretty much a Dick.
    .-= Arienette´s last blog ..I pack it in real good =-.

  30. well, there’s no fucking way i’m going to come close to topping the comment of the day, so suffice to say HAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAAAA <—— as per usual when i come here.

    thanks for being you.



  31. Victor can go suck it. I, too, would give both you and the lovely Ms. Alone With Cats amazing hugs. Plus– we can play fort under the table together. I’ll bring the crayons, paper and snacks if you’ll provide the pillows. And I will read you Splat the Cat stories.

  32. Splat the Cat stories are HAPPY stories, not ones about flat cats.
    Just Clarifying,
    The Minx

  33. I wish I didn’t read this post. Not because I don’t love you, because I do. But, because now I NEED to read this damn book. It bothers me that I don’t KNOW what you’re talking about. Aww, shit.

  34. Are you in my house listening to my husband and me? Today he asked me how many 42-ounce Diet Cokes I’m drinking a day. “Two.” When really it’s three, and he knows I’m lying. “Don’t you think you should cut back because of your anxiety?” “No, I’ll be fine.” An hour later I’m coming out of my skin. David just shakes his head because this is only one example when he knows what’s best for me and I completely ignore it. Then I expect him to make me feel better. But they should know by now we’ll never learn and give us a hug, damn it.
    .-= Michelle Zive´s last blog ..What? Me? Competitive? =-.

  35. First – thank you, thank you, thank you – you put out the things that are bouncing around in my head. Only I don’t need a blog because my husband is tolerant of them….

    Secondly – whatever you do, DO NOT read Kite Runner – if the Holocaust makes you sad, Kite Runner will get you totally stabby and sad. No one should be stabby AND sad.

    Air hug!
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..And so it begins…. =-.

  36. You should show Victor that there are plenty of people out there that would hug you.

    Also, he’ll probably never let you forget that he was right. And now you posted it. So he will always have proof that he was right in your blog archives. You should delete this post. Or the holocoust comic book (really??) will always haunt you. Basically, it’s all Hitler’s fault.
    .-= LB @Wait, She Said What?´s last blog ..Why can’t Mother’s Day be on like a Tuesday instead? =-.

  37. This sounds JUST like the conversation my husband and I had about Maus. He had read it and loved it, but wouldn’t let me read it “because it’s sad. And because you’re already part German, part Italian, and part Iranian. The world can’t risk your getting any genocidal ideas.”

  38. I have a very fashionable shirt/tunicy thing thy I got from Miss Sixty. There’s a girls face on it that looks like Anne Frank. I get super sad when I wear it but it does a good job of covering up my ass so it’s hard to stop wearing it.

  39. I have been in three different classes at uni that had Maus on their reading list. So far. I can now write papers on that motherfucker in my SLEEP.

    Actually, wait, no I can’t. I tried and all I ended up doing was missing the deadline and that made my professor give me that look like I KNOW YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS and that is SO MUCH WORSE than just getting a percentage knocked off your grade.

    Long story short, the English department at my school wants to aggressively cuddle Art Spiegelman and/or the Holocaust.
    .-= cancerbaby´s last blog ..Maybe I was Henry Hudson in a previous lifetime. I hope I don’t die on a boat. =-.

  40. Eh, my husband does the same thing. “What you watching?” I tell him, “Oh it’s this documentary on animal cruelty on HBO.” (okay this was like 10 years ago) But why are you watching it? You’ll cry. **2 days later**
    Why are you depressed? I told you not to watch that freaking documentary. I told you! It happens to the best of us. Just don’t watch Schindler’s List, I was heartbroken.
    .-= Karsun´s last blog ..Speaking of Sin to Win =-.

  41. I’m with Victor on this one (except for the hugging part). Every time Hollywood studio makes some Holocaust movie and it’s touted to win the next Oscar, I won’t see it. Even if a couple of people survive, you still know a helluvalot are gonna die. And of course the film gets an Oscar because how can any movie compete with a story about the Holocaust?

  42. I am guilty of being sucked into the “moth to the flame” thing myself. It all looks good, hell it has to be good, well….til ya crispify your wings 🙁
    .-= Robin´s last blog ..Happy Mother’s Day =-.

  43. You get the best comments. What’s your secret and could you possibly sell it to Youtube? It’s a mess over there.
    You think depressing comics [graphic novels] are bad, try depressing children’s picture books. When my mother was doing her thesis she bought several copies of “The Tinpot Foreign General And The Old Iron Woman” by Raymond Briggs [the Snowman guy] and it’s just so heart-rending. Beautiful though. A real work of art. I’d also recommend Michael Rosen’s “Sad Book”…except I’ve just realised that you need to be less depressed, so just forget all that. Have you read “Horrid Henry’s Mighty Joke Book”?

  44. Maus is goddamn brilliant. I would hug you just for that because I believe people with good taste deserve hugs.

    I mean, I’d want to hug you for other reasons, but if I was really stretching for a reason to hug you, it’d be because you’d sacrifice happiness for good books. And because you’re sad.

    …I’m tired and I don’t know what I’m saying. I think I just need a hug.

  45. I think you are brave.

    I too can’t watch, read or hear about any kind of cruetly – be it genocide, abuse or mis-treatment of animals without being a sobbing, melancholy mess. I still haven’t seen the end of Dances with Wolves, would not ever consider watching The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, am NOT ALLOWED to watch The Pianist and have never, ever, ever seen a Benji film, Bambi or Watership Downs. Though, my Other is perhaps still sweet enough to hug me even if I inflict that level of agony upon myself. Perhaps I can lend him to you for a hug (though it may take a while for him to get there, and there’s some jiggery-pokery involved with time zones…)?

    Really, all I am left with is wacky ’80s comedies, cartoons & Harry Potter – otherwise I become a snot factory.
    .-= Leni´s last blog ..Coming to a close =-.

  46. You can’t deny a hug to teach a lesson… that’s like child abuse… although I know your not a child… but you were reading a child’s book so there’s like a grandfather clause in there or something.

    I’m baking cookies for you to make you feel better… but I don’t know your mailing address so I will eat them all for you too. Those are the great things I’m willing to do for friends.
    .-= sarah @ i run with scissors´s last blog ..Dear Mom (’cause I can be sentimental and shit) =-.

  47. The whole Maus series was what got me hooked on graphic novels in the first place. Totally should have bought it!

  48. LOVED Maus in high school! Wait, not like loved like “I loved the holocaust content” because I totally DO NOT. I mean like, its a comic book! …and a history lesson! …and I totally love history. But it really is so sad. But yeah, totally had to own those books so I stole them from the school. Whatever…it was high school. Don’t judge me.

  49. I wrote a blog post recommending Maus just yesterday – clearly we’re somehow on the same comic book-holocaust wavelength. Man, the Holocaust can really bring people together. Well, not the real Holocaust. I mean, it did, but not in a good way – exempting the people who banded together and fought that is, or friendhships made in camps. Hm, see now I think I’m going to hell. And how screwed up is that – I’m just promoting Holocaust awareness, aside from possibly insensitive Holocaust-connecting-people comments. Now I don’t even know what I’m talking about. Freaking Holocaust.
    .-= Megan (Best of Fates)´s last blog ..Maus: A Survivor’s Tale I & II =-.

  50. I cheated on my wife once and felt really bad about it for weeks. So I told her about it to get rid of some of this guilt but still felt bad and asked her for a hug to make me feel better, but she was all distant and angry and stuff and wouldn’t hug me. I’m gonna tell her to read this Holocaust post ’cause it was a big thing and the cheating thing was sooo small a thing compared and let he know how unreasonable she’s being. Thanks Bloggess.

    I so loved the post, by the way.

  51. I have had the same exact conversations with my husband quite a few times. He still won’t give me back Girl Interrupted, even though I haven’t even read anything but the back cover!
    .-= caramama´s last blog ..May Meet Up Final Details =-.

  52. Maus, the graphic novel, touched me immensely when I read it more than a decade ago. I don’t understand my fascination with The Holocaust either. Perhaps it’s just having that compassion for a peoples getting wiped out, just like my Native and African American ancestors. I took several classes that focused on the Holocaust in college. I’ve read the books, seen the movies, written songs about it…I think it is that burning need to remember, to never forget all of these atrocities committed against others, to make sure we don’t repeat the past.

  53. So, I’m glad you brought this up, because I just don’t know what to make of this situation. I was at the pediatrician with my daughter last week, and she toddled over with a handful of books. The pediatrician has some fine offerings. . . Sydney the Seal, Elmo does. . I dunno whatever, Goodnight Moon, AND FUCKING MAUS. My two year old wanted me to read her MAUS while we waited for her dr. appointment. WTF? This can mean a) My pediatrician thinks children are super intelligent and can handle such material b) My pediatrician is an idiot and thinks this is lovely comic about mice. Or most likely c) he is trying to traumatize my daughter because he is in cahoots with the pharmaceutical people and wants to start giving my kid drugs NOW! Thoughts? Anyone?
    Paula http://www.adhocmom.
    P.S. I will so march down to that office and send a photo if you don’t believe me.

  54. I love Maus, and it is definitely worth the depression. I would also hug you and give you back your Sylvia Plath books, because I hate it when people hide my This-Is-So-Good-But-So-Sad books from me. Even if I’ve told them to do it. I WANT TO READ THAT, DAMN IT, WHO CAAAARES if it makes me sob hysterical in the middle of any (ANY) locale I happen to be reading in?

  55. Another graphic novel that is brilliant and deep is Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. I’m currently collecting them all. They’re not happy, really. There are people getting squishy-killed and other bad stuff. But they’re good.

    Or, you could read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and the prequel (which I got as an Easter present) Dawn of the Dreadfuls. I haven’t read the prequel yet. There’s also Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, if you’re not feeling like reading about zombies.

    (((hug))) for Holocaust induced sadness.
    .-= jenny gee´s last blog ..Someone’s having a bad night =-.

  56. Haha Ebay is terrible. It’s become not ever worth it to even try on there. I’m a fan of craigslist now. Except I’ve been having an impossible time trying to find a minivan on there. NO ONE WANTS TO SELL ME THEIR MINIVAN. what is the deal.
    .-= Mamma M´s last blog ..A Personal Pacifier Slash Blankie =-.

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