Wow. It's really original of Marjane Satrapi to choose to write her memoir as a graphic novel. It really worked. I'm glad I liked it so much, because it's my first 'real' graphic novel. I read the first Buffy Season 8 ones earlier this year, but that was an easy way to get started since I'm such a huge Buffy fan. I consider Persepolis the real deal.
So, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi's memoir about growing up in revolutionary Iran - war, revolution, repression, persecution... what can these do to a willful teenager? I thought it was fascinating on so many levels. The coming-of-age storyline is one I usually like. I didn't know anything (and I mean anything) about Iran and learned so much. I want to read more about this interesting country.
I didn't know details of the fundamentalist repression either. I just can't imagine it, to be living like a 'normal' teenager and for everything to be taken away. All her dreams - of being free, of going to university, of going to the US - everything was taken away. I suppose that's when we find out what we're really made of but still.
It was strange to read about all the horrors in comic strip format. I somehow thought it would be lighter, even though that doesn't really make sense since I knew it would be about Iran. We're so used to graphic descriptions in books and we're so used to violent films and even cartoons, but we know that they're not real. It's strange when you look at the pictures, in the same format as Superman, and know that they are real. Does that make any sense? The simplicity reinforces the message, I know, but it was still weird to me.
I thought her story was beautiful and inspirational. To survive so much and to tell the world about it in such a meaningful way is amazing. I could empathise with her when she moved to Vienna - I know what it's like to be on your own when you're too young to be on your own, to be foreign, to miss that understanding from others of the same background.
And I loved the art. I loved that it wad black and white and simple. The emotions kind of jumped out at you. The hopeless romantic in me loved the page about how she and Reza are total opposites but they complete each other. Still makes me smile when I think about it.
This is certainly going to be on my list of favorites this year. If you haven't yet, you should definitely get this one.
Challenges: A-Z, 999, Countdown, Graphic Novels, In Their Shoes, Lost in Translation, My Year of Reading Dangerously, New Authors, Well-Seasoned Reader, World Citizen, Dewey Decimal