BOOK REVIEW: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Not long ago, if you’d told me I would find myself gripped by a graphic novel memoir of a childhood in Iran, I would’ve been, well, surprised to say the least. But I was utterly gripped by Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis.
For the majority of Marjane’s childhood Iran was at war with Iraq. She saw many friends and family members arrested, injured and killed, both in the war and by the fundamentalist Iranian regime. At the age of 14 her parents sent her to Austria alone to finish her education, but, desperately unhappy, she got into more and more trouble, which culminated in her living on the streets.
I found Persepolis absolutely fascinating. I didn’t know very much about Iran before, but as I’m around the same age as Marjane and remember news reports of the war during my own childhood, to read such a book and understand what someone my age was dealing with on a day to day basis at a time when all I had to worry about was whether my leg warmers matched is sobering.
Marjane was brave in a way we’d struggle to comprehend. Stopped by the police for running because “When you run your behind makes movements that are ... obscene”, Marjane responded, “Well then don’t look at my ass!” Her subsequent comment that “I yelled so loudly they didn’t even arrest me” highlights the kind of world she was living in.
I’m a graphic novel novice and I found Persepolis much harder work than Marisa Acocella Marchetto’s Cancer Vixen but it certainly rewards the attention. An amazing book.
N.B. This edition includes two volumes: The Story of a Childhood and The Story of a Return
Rating: 4 out of 5