By Marjane Satrapi
Paperback, 153 pages
2003, Pantheon Books
Persepolis is a memoir turned graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi about her life growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution and the war with Iraq. From the back of the book: “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.”
What I liked:
Generally, I don’t read memoirs – probably I’ve never read one – but I am all about graphic novels and that’s the element that really drew me to this book, as well as the lovely cover design. I don’t often find myself reading anything politically charged either, and reading how Marjane grew up through the comic medium was a new experience. Marjane covers her life from years six to fourteen and I enjoyed her perspective and outlook. It was childish at times, yet still very intelligent. The artwork is simple and powerful and oftentimes Marjane’s daydreams or fantasies mix with her panels about real life, creating something really fantastic. I also appreciated the way Marjane handled the politics and religion in her life – it wasn’t overbearing on the reader and I didn’t feel like she was trying to force opinions on me. I also love the overall style of the illustrations.
Marjane talks about how she used to communicate with God and her interactions with him were some of my favorite parts of the book:
The changes in her face as she became more emotional really had me laughing here:
What I didn’t like:
The ending! This book is only 150 pages and feels very much like one volume of a comic series, rather than a stand alone novel. I was disappointed with the cliffhanger ending – I wanted more! I know there’s a second book and I plan to get my hands on it, but I wish this book didn’t feel incomplete. When I purchased this book, I didn’t realize there was a sequel and had I known I would have waited and read them back to back.
This book was funny, poignant and intelligently written and I can’t wait to read Persepolis 2 as well as more of Satrapi’s work!