Graphic novel review: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: AmazonGoodreads
Publication Date: 2000
Source: Purchased

Wise, 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.

I read Persepolis way back during Banned Books Week, over a month ago.  I started writing a review for it a few times, but it never sounded right.  This little book is so important that I’m really having trouble putting my feelings into words.

Persepolis is the story of author Marjane Satrapi’s experiences in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.  Now, sure, we all know about the Islamic Revolution.  We all learned about it in school, but in my history classes, it was kind of glossed over.  I don’t remember learning anything about what caused it, the effect it had on Iranian citizens, or anything more than “it happened, and that’s that.”

But Satrapi will take you through the nitty gritty details of the Revolution.  Her family was very progressive.  They did not support their new, highly religious government.  Satrapi doesn’t spare the details of her rebellion, her fear, the friends and family she lost in the war.

A lot of people talk about how great this book is, and for once, I agree.


For my 2015 reading challenge, I’m crossing off #48: a banned book.

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