Books Magazine


Posted on the 29 September 2021 by Cheekymeeky

is a graphic novel based on an autobiography of young Marjane Satrapi living in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. The title Persepolis is a reference to the capital of the Persian Empire.

This is my first experience reading a graphic novel. I mean, I have read lots of comics and stuff, but it's never been my favorite genre, and I never explored reading a full-blown graphic novel.

Until now, Persepolis has always been on my TBR list, but to be honest, I was put off by the saturated black inky format of the book in my library, and I also found the text a bit small and hard to read. But there doesn't seem to be any other version of the book available (at least not in India), so I sucked it up and read it.

Book Synopsis

My edition of this book covers Satrapi's entire childhood and early adulthood, right up to when she leaves Iran for Paris after divorcing her husband. I state this explicitly because I believe some editions split the story into multiple books.

The book starts with Satrapi recollecting the first nine or ten years of her life - which seems like a beautiful time. Surrounded by a loving, independently minded family, living in a comfortable time, she resembled teenagers everywhere in her love for pop music, her interest in fashion, her Nikes. Then it all changed. She and her mother and her feisty grandmother had to shroud their faces from the view of men. Makeup and other forms of Western decadence were forbidden.

In her teens, with Ayatollah Khomeini under full steam, Iran turns into a hostile place for people like Marjane. The society she thought she lived in has disappeared, with much of her freedom as a woman. Sometimes she fast-talks herself out of tight corners, as when she is almost arrested for wearing makeup, but it is clear to her parents that Marjane will eventually attract trouble. They send her to live with friends in Vienna.

Austria provides her with a radically different society, but one she eventually finds impossible to live in. Her values clash with the casual sex and drug use she finds there, and after going a little wild with rock 'n' roll and acting out, she doesn't like herself, is homesick, and returns to Iran - only to find she no longer fits in there either.

My Review

I made the mistake of starting this book at around 8 pm last night. By 10:30 pm, I knew I was a lost cause and was texting people saying have you read Persepolis? Because I wanted an early night and I. can't. put. the. book. down! I finally finished it about a quarter to midnight and am resigned to a bleary-eyed day at work today.

So, I loved the book. I loved delving into the culture and history of Iran, which is presented in a straightforward, easy-to-digest format. I loved Marjane's family, who loved and sacrificed so much for her. I didn't love Marjane, however. She came off a bit too arrogant, and she always seemed to need to prove who she is and what she is about to the world. I have met a few people like that in my life and found them annoying. But I guess you need that type of arrogance to beat the odds and write this book? Maybe?

Overall, the book is a mix of funny and heart-rending. I love, love, love it, and am now looking forward to reading more graphic novels. I realize I like this format. Any recommendations for me?

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog