Friday, 29 April 2016

Review: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

Title: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
Series: Persepolis #1-2
Written By: Marjane Satrapi
Translated by: Mattias Ripa
Publisher: Pantheon Books
Pages: 160
Genres: Graphic Novel, Memoir


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 flew through reading this book, it gripped me from the very first page. I don't know much about Iran or its history so Persepolis was very illuminating and interesting to me. Marjane's family is very privileged and educated so I felt like this gave a very interesting perspective of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. It is the story of Marjane along with her family rebelling and protesting against oppression. I found it truly heartbreaking at times but on the whole very inspiring.

There is a great thread of humour running throughout Marjane's story and I felt myself cracking up at some of the more ridiculous situations. Marjane has a great voice and I was so emotionally invested in her family. This book truly is a testament to the human spirit. Because of Marjane's family status, I feel like she was extremely lucky to have the option of reading political books, going to a good school, learning from the political activists in her family and being able to travel outside of Iran.

All in all, I feel like reading Persepolis has made me a more emphatic person towards people who are living under oppressive regimes all over the world. There needs to be more books like this one. Persepolis has become one of my all time favourites.

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