This graphic memoir depicts the childhood of Marjane Satrapi during and after the Islamic Revolution in Iran. She remembers when she first was required to wear a headscarf, when school changed, when she learned the danger of protesting, among many other things in a rapidly changing world. Interspersed with the severity of the revolution is the fact that the author was definitely a child; she was jealous of other people’s fathers because they’d been in prison and become “heroes” with cool stories, for example, and she decides that she wants to be a prophet. With simply drawn black-and-white pictures, this memoir successfully reminds us that people in Iran are still people like us, only living in far different circumstances.
I loved The House of the Mosque, which I read last week, and then Dawn at She is Too Fond of Books recommended this one in a review, and Andrea at Canongate Books left me a comment saying she had this one as well. I’d heard of it before, but this all just seemed like huge incentive to read it now. So naturally, I went to the library and took it out immediately, and it’s so short that I managed to read it the same day.
I really enjoyed it. I felt like Persepolis dealt with tough issues but had that human touch throughout. I appreciated the author’s mission to show us that Iran is more than terrorism and weapons, it’s an ancient culture with real people. It certainly has problems now, but there’s no reason to forget its past and the fact that all the people who live there are not exactly thrilled with their own government. The author, for example, is thrilled when her parents smuggle her modern posters, clothes, and a Michael Jackson button, only for her to get in trouble when women who are more committed to the new government see her in her new jeans and jacket.
I even liked the black-and-white drawings. They’re quite simplistic but Satrapi shows individuality with small touches and conveys emotion with them quite effectively. There is some violence depicted, but it’s not realistic enough to bother anyone, just enough to show that it must have been horrible.
Overall, Persepolis is a book I’d definitely recommend. It’s a fast and even enjoyable read that really touches on important – even essential – issues about the world today. I’m definitely interested in reading its sequel and hope my library has that one, too.
I am an Amazon Associate. I borrowed this book from my local library.