Monday, 2 May 2016

Review: Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return by Marjane Satrapi

Title: Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return
Series: Persepolis #3-4
Written By: Marjane Satrapi
Translated by:Anjali Singh
Publisher: Pantheon Books
Pages: 187
Genres: Graphic Novel, Memoir

Persepolis 2

Finding that she misses her home more than she can stand, Marjane returns to Iran after graduation. Her difficult homecoming forces her to confront the changes both she and her country have undergone in her absence and her shame at what she perceives as her failure in Austria. Marjane allows her past to weigh heavily on her until she finds some like-minded friends, falls in love, and begins studying art at a university. However, the repression and state-sanctioned chauvinism eventually lead her to question whether she can have a future in Iran.
Unfortunately I did not enjoy this book quite as much as the first. Persepolis 2 follows Marjane in Austria where she struggles with homesickness and fitting in, she is a 'fish out of water' in the west where she struggles with the cultural differences. I felt really sorry for Marjane and I really empathised with her. She doesn't make many great choices in her quest to be accepted by her friends and boyfriend; there is a real sense of a conflict between how she was taught to behave versus peer pressure to have sex, experience drugs etc.

Marjane returns to Iran after four years in the second half of the book and I found that the story became a lot more interesting. Marjane feels tremendous guilt for how she behaved in Austria and felt like a failure. It was so touching to see how supportive and loving her family were in welcoming her back home. Before long, Marjane starts to question whether she can live in Iran as it has changed for the worse and she plans to live abroad permanently.

Marjane's story touched my heart in many ways, I really emphasised with her journey maturing into a young woman and being utterly lost in her life. There wasn't as much humour as the first book and I felt the story had a darker tone. Overall though I really enjoyed reading Marjane's story and I would recommend it to everyone.

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