Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood & The Story of a Return by Marjane Satrapi

perpHow did I get the book? I bought it

Genre: Graphic Novel / Memoir

Synopsis: Wise, often funny, sometimes heartbreaking, Persepolis tells the story of Marjane Satrapi’s life in Tehran, 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 child of radical Marxists, and the great-grandaughter of Iran’s last emperor, Satrapi 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. Amidst the tragedy, Marjane’s child’s eye view adds immediacy and humour, and her story of a childhood at once outrageous and ordinary, beset by the unthinkable and yet buffered by an extraordinary and loving family, is immensely moving. It is also very beautiful; Satrapi’s drawings have the power of the very best woodcuts.

200words (or less) review: This graphic novel memoir is split into sections, the firs tells of Marjane Satrapi’s life in Tehran from when she 6 to 14. It’s her experience of the changes after the overthrowing of the Shah’s regime, the Islamic revolution and the war with Iraq. The second half is about Marji’s life in Austria, where her family sent her own safety, her isolation there and then Marji’s return to Tehran after four years.

Marjane Satrapi’s narration is engaging, you get to know her and her life really well. I learned so much from Persepolis. During the first half of the book (when Marji is a child) there are explanations about what was going on in Tehran at that time, as well the history behind this. When Marji returns from Austria the public vs private life personas continue to be opposite. People are being watched all the time. I think the below quote from Persepolis is fitting:

The regime had understood that one person leaving her house while asking herself:
Are my trousers long enough?’
Is my veil in place?’
Can my make-up be seen?’
Are they going to whip me?’

No longer asks herself:
Where is my freedom of thought?’
Where is my freedom of speech?’
My life, is it livable?’
What’s going on in the political prisons?”

If you haven’t read any graphic novels before then let this be the one to start. Don’t like history or memoirs? I think Persepolis might just convince you otherwise.

Recommend it?

Absolutely

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