Just a bit of clarification before I get into the actual review: I am reviewing The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. Her graphic memoir comes in a few different formats (it is available in four individual volumes, two books containing two volumes each, or a complete bind-up). The version I’m reviewing contains the entire series. Now that we’ve gotten that over with…
Persepolis is the story of Satrapi’s unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming–both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up.
I didn’t know too much about Persepolis going in, and I was pleasantly surprised. The story itself is really amazing! I love that it is a memoir; Satrapi did a wonderful job of blending recent history with personal anecdotes. It was truly effective in showing the everyday lives of normal people during a time of war and political upheaval. I loved that the story had a great message, but was also completely relatable. Since it follows Satrapi’s childhood and teenage years, it definitely shows her struggle to find herself, which is particularly poignant, since she is simultaneously trying to find ways to rebel against an oppressive government. I also loved Satrapi’s humor – it’s dark and funny, and works well with the rest of the story. And the art style was so perfect. Overall, it’s just an amazing book.
The only thing I didn’t like about this book was that it ended a bit abruptly – I wanted more! I read this for Our Shared Shelf (Emma Watson’s feminist book club), and I think it was a brilliant pick! I really loved all aspects of this book, and I’m so glad I read it.
If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it! It was a fun graphic memoir that was both enjoyable and eye-opening. And if you have read it, share your thoughts in the comments!