Ugh. So far behind, and it’s only June. I’ve started working from home again, and finding myself wishing for more hours in the day to get everything done. I’m keeping up with the reading, but the reviewing is killing me. Gonna do my best.
I feel like it was ages ago that I read Persepolis. And when I was reading it, I had a lot of important things I wanted to say. That I needed to say.
And now I can’t remember any of them. But still, I recommend it highly.
Everyone probably knows this by now, but let me tell you a little bit about Persepolis and Marjane Satrapi.
Persepolis is a lovely graphic novel that is split into two parts — Part 1 details Marjane’s early youth in Iran, right at the start of the Islamic Revolution in the late 1970s. Part 2 is more about her teen/young adult years. She is sent to live in Vienna, where she falls in with an interesting crowd. She returns to Tehran, falls in love, and falls out of love. And all the while, changes are happening all around her, in every aspect of her life: socially, physically, culturally, politically.
This is a relatively quick read, but by no means is it an easy, or a simple one. There is a lot to think about here. I’m ashamed to say that my knowledge of the changes that took place in Iran in the 70s was next to nothing — I remember hearing about the Shah, and I remember the Ayatollah, but I had no idea about the rest of it, and how this revolution changed the lives of Iran’s citizens so drastically.
Marjane shares many stories about her family and friends, and their losses through the years. The neighbors who disappeared in the night, the uncles tortured in prison, the riots and deaths in the street. And yet, there is humor and a bit of levity in her story. When she takes an art class in college drawing human figures, the female model is covered in a full-body chador. Marjane and her sarcasm have a field day with that.
The graphics are simple black & white drawings and are lovely. We can easily see Marjane’s pain, joy, and frustration through her pictures. To be honest, I much preferred Part 1 of the story. Her time in Vienna was a bit darker than I expected, and I was anxious for her to get back to Tehran and her family.
Just after reading, I also watched the movie, which came out a few years ago. I thought it was fine, but really preferred the experience of reading her story on the page.