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Review: Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi

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.

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13 comments to Review: Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi

  • I’m so glad you enjoyed/connected with this, Meghan. Satrapi showed how she was trying to have a “normal” childhood despite what was going on around her – those petty jealousies, the western-style clothing, and sometimes childish behavior were natural, and I’m glad she showed them. Contrasted with the reality of what was happening in the streets around her, it was a powerful picture.

    We’ll have to compare notes on PERSEPOLIS 2 after we both read it.
    .-= Dawn – She is Too Fond of Books´s last blog ..Midway thru the *Game On!* challenge =-.

  • I really need to read my first graphic novel! I have checked out a few from the library but something else always seems to take precedence.
    .-= Stephanie´s last blog ..Teaser Tuesday: East of Eden =-.

  • I picked up the DVD from the library on Saturday, but haven’t watched it yet. The book is on my wishlist, but they don’t have it available to borrow at the library. It sounds intriguing.
    .-= The Kool-Aid Mom´s last blog ..Crashing the Unexpected Party =-.

  • I enjoyed reading this book, but felt it was a bit dry at times – too much like a text book. I thought the film was better than the book – it is very faithful to the story, just like looking at the pictures that move! I recommend you try to watch it, as I think you’d enjoy it.
    .-= Jackie (Farm Lane Books)´s last blog ..Uglies – Scott Westerfeld =-.

  • Loved it! Glad you like it too. I haven’t been as fond of Satrapi’s other works, but Embroideries was close.
    .-= Andi´s last blog ..Blog Tour: Keeping the Feast, by Paula Butturini =-.

  • This book sounds like an interesting read!

    BTW, I have an award for you at my blog.
    .-= Katy´s last blog ..Lovely Awards From Some Lovely Bloggers =-.

  • Amy

    I have to pick this one up. A lot of people have been recommending it and it looks fascinating.
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Teaser Tuesdays =-.

  • I really liked your review and I also have been wanting to read this book for awhile now. I think it sounds like a really interesting story and the artwork really appeals to me as well. Are you planning on watching the movie version? If you do I would be interested in what you think of it.

  • I really liked this book, too! So often we forget that countries are made up of individuals and, like you said, they don’t always agree with their government.
    .-= Kathy´s last blog ..Review: What the Dog Saw =-.

  • Eva

    I wasn’t as big a fan of this one, but I loved Embroideries! So if your library has that, go for it. :)

    A few years ago, I read an interesting travelogue about Iran by an Iranian American: The Soul of Iran. And I enjoyed Guests of the Ayatollah, which was about the American embassy workers who were held hostage.
    .-= Eva´s last blog ..Reading in Colour =-.

  • I don’t read very many (read: none at all) graphic novels, but I’ve been hearing so many good things about Persepolis for so long that I know I should give it a try. I also just read Reading Lolita in Tehran a few months ago, so I’m definitely interested in the subject matter. Thanks for the review, and for giving me another reminder to pick this one up!
    .-= Dana´s last blog ..Firmin by Sam Savage =-.

  • I really liked this one, but now I’m wondering about picking up Embroideries. If you haven’t seen the film, it’s worth trying.
    .-= Beth F´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday 62 =-.

  • This was my first ever graphic novel and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I too was moved emotionally by some of the pictures. I liked Persepolis II as well, but haven’t managed to pick up Embroideries yet. I am interesting in watching the movie one day if I can find it here.