This year as I began making my epic list of things to read for Cannonball I asked some of my friends what they would suggest. While having these conversations my coworker mentioned that she hadn’t read Persepolis yet, but kept meaning to, and had I. I had not, so on the list it went, since she’s the mom of two small kiddoes, I could certainly do a little market research for her reading intake. Good news for her and you is that I *really* liked this book.
In case you are unaware, Marjane Satrapi is an artist who grew up in revolutionary Iran. From Goodreads: “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.”
Intriguing, yes? I agree. I read the complete version of Persepolis, which contains what had originally been published in two different volumes, each with two parts. I felt that the first half was much more engaging than the second half, but that may because part 2 deals more with effects of the revolution and the personal effects of Satrapi’s time in Austria. Or, I just liked the characters in the first half better. It’s hard to know.
Structurally these are graphic novels, and are perhaps more truly chronological collections of short graphic novellas telling the story of Satrapi and her country in small bursts. My only real complaint about this work is that often each chapter, or mini novella, felt like it ended abruptly, without finishing the thought, or completely making the point. Several different times I flipped back a page to make sure I hadn’t missed something. I can however tell you that the artwork is simply beautiful in its simplicity and ability to translate emotions across the page. I haven’t seen the movie version of Persepolis yet, but it’s on my list now.