Book Review | Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Persepolis is the story of Satrapi's unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming--both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up. (GoodReads)

In the same way MAUS told the story of a Jewish man in the Holocaust in comic book form, Persepolis tells the story of a young woman through the Iranian revolution.

I've always found it interesting how Maus used the comic book art form as a way to tell such a serious story. I never thought it could be done as gracefully and sentimentally as it was done again until a friend recommended me Persepolis. 

Persepolis is a graphic novel that follows a young woman just before the Iranian revolution began and through the tumultuous years of unrest and war. The art itself was more literal than Maus and I found the simplicity of it very complimentary to the complex story of Iran. I devoured this book in a couple of sittings, however, I did have to go back at some points to refresh myself in the history since it was hard to follow exactly who was who in the history.

Mariane is a very relatable character and frustrating at times because she made decisions (decisions any teenager would make) that seemed to go against what would be logical. The (real) cast of characters in this book were portrayed multi-dimensionally and realistically. I was impressed with Satrapi's ability to communicate what was happening externally and internally in her world during that time. 

I think the Iranian revolution is fascinating and it really piqued my interest. My only critique of this book is that I wish I had more background to understand what was happening because it would have saved some time going back and forth through the pages. However, having it in comic book form made it easy to refresh the memory.

Overall, I give this book a 4.5/5 stars.

Have you read this book? What do you think?


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