Author: Marjane Satrapi
Title:Persepolis: A Story of Childhood
Publication: June 1, 2004
Genre: Memoir, Historical, Graphic Novel
Audience: 13 and up
Rating: 4 out 5
Source: Public Library
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Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.
Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Marjane’s child’s-eye view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, with laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love.
I first heard about Persepolis during a presentation in one of my classes. I was intrigued. I'll be honest and admit to be ignorant. I was not a huge fan of graphic novels, but my boyfriend loves them so I thought I would give this one a try. I got Persepolis confused with Persephone from Greek myths. So when, I checked the book out from the public library, I had no idea about what I was getting myself into. The storyline is the main focus of the graphic novel. The artwork is in black and white, and even though I fail at even making stick figures, the art is very simple. The image is there to just help convey the message Satrapi is wanting to convey. I didn't know much about Iran until reading this book. It was very eye opening in how Iran was before The Islamic Revolution. The book chronicles the life of Satrapi and the sacrifices she and her family have to make just to survive. At first, her family fights against the revolution, but eventually they have to give in. Her parents educate Satrapi on a variety of topics. I personally felt she was maybe 10-14 in the books, and I'm not sure she would have understood Marx or any of the other revolutionists. However, she mentions reading them and it being a bit overwhelming, but learning something from them. Some of the material seems dense for a 10-14 year old to read and much less comprehend. The books are a great start to a true historical story. Satrapi draws you in and makes you feel the story. I cried when I reached the end. It was a sad ending, but I had no clue there was a second book. I recently checked it out and read it. Next week, I'll review it!