Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A Review of 'Persepolis' by Marjane Satrapi

Note: I am working to finish reviews for the books I read last year.  This review is for one of those books.  Once they are finished, I will be reviewing more recent reads.  Thank you!

"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 love this book.  This is one that I read with my ninth graders while I was student teaching.  The kids really liked it too.  As an educator, I love that even though the history behind the story being told (the Iranian Revolution in the 1970s) was a little unfamiliar and took some time to work through as a group, this book was very accessible.  This is a story told in the form of a graphic novel which is great for struggling readers and for those who are looking to delve into this complicated and very politically charged piece of history.  The neat thing for me, as an avid reader of memoirs, was that I had never read a memoir that was presented in this way.

I appreciated that Marjane never held back anything from the reader.  She did an awesome job of showing what was going on, her family's take on the matter, and then how she reconciled with both sides and educated herself so that she could be an active part in this revolution, even as a child.  She did an amazing job of showing the reader what daily life in Iran under the Shah's regime was like, especially for women and girls.  Even though I'm very far removed from this part of history and this culture, I could imagine myself in her place and indirectly experience her daily struggles.

This is a wonderful graphic novel that will transport you and make you fall in love with Marjane and the cause that she and thousands of other revolutionaries faced during this time.

I give 'Persepolis':
Thanks for Reading!


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