Review: Persepolis (Vol. 1-4) by Marjane Satrapi

persep 1perpes 2Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, 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 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.

Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Marjane’s child’s-eye view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, with laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love.

Persepolis is undeniably interesting. It tells the repressed story of Iran, a story that is all the more important today with ISIS taking over the middle east. It reminds us of the unique culture of Iranians, their proud heritage, and hopes for a bright future.

Marjane is a strong willed, outspoken girl who disagrees with religion extremism, opting instead for freedom of expression. She constantly reads as much non-fiction as possible in order to educate herself, mainly in the areas of politics and philosophy. The story begins with her childhood in Iran and it was very interesting to see war and political unrest from a child’s perspective.

Even though it is tough to have a proper childhood in the midst of war and revolution, Marjane did her best to continue to go to school, hang out with friends and follow the latest fashion and music trends. However, parallel to her happiness is the dark and awful war that claims the lives of hundreds of thousands.

The second half of her story reminds us of the hardship new immigrants face, especially those who leave their families behind and head out into the unknown alone. Beyond just the difficulties of language, their are many cultural barriers to overcome, not to mention going through puberty and other teenager problems all on your own.

Persepolis is a very good memoir, chronicling in a way that is easily accessible not only Marjane’s own life story, but also the story of her country Iran. While I didn’t find the art or writing to be anything special, I really enjoyed reading Marjane’s story.


Source: The Varsity

3 thoughts on “Review: Persepolis (Vol. 1-4) by Marjane Satrapi

  1. I watched the movie, and I have to say I was fascinated. I am an Iranian and I was amazed that her life story was very similar to my life story. Actually lots of politically active intellectual families had the same story: being in prison before and after the revolution, and then sending away their kids who then go through the pains of immigration.
    Now I have a non political blog with focus on the people of Iran, its nature, personalities, and surprising and not well known stories:

    I hope you enjoy my articles as well.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. When reading you are never sure whether the author’s story is the norm, or if it only happened to them. It makes me look at the book in a different light realizing that Marjane’s story is shared by so many others.

      I’m visiting your blog now!

      1. Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you enjoy it. Satrapi’s story was so similar to the story of my family, that it really made me emotional. Also the details I remember in my childhood that we were really into Star Wars and Bruce Lee, just like her. The more important similarities are of course the ones regarding politics and immigration.

I love hearing from you and will always reply!

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