CBR11 BINGO: Illustrated (BINGO! Reading the TBR corner to Cannonballer Says corner)
First, I want to say that the un-athletic yet competitive side of me is totally appreciating this BINGO situation. I enjoyed it last year, but I was less prepared for it. Now, the actual searching for books that fit into the squares that are more difficult for me is actually broadening my reading base in unexpected ways. Bravo, CBR idea makers!
I bought a copy of this illustrated novel a few years ago for my son. His middle school class was studying Iran and I thought that he would enjoy it. It has since sat on the TBR pile next to my bed. Now, I am wondering why I allowed it to collect dust for so long! Over the years, it has been reviewed a gazillion times by Cannonballers. I know that I am beyond late to this party.
Persepolis is the beginning of an autobiographical comic series written by an Iranian born woman. At age 10, Marjane is living in Tehran with her mother and father in 1979 on the cusp of the overthrow of the Shah and the beginning of Islamic rule and a war with Iraq. As part of a generation that began with secular education, Marjane resists the stringent rules of the Islamic leadership that takes over their lives. Her educated and politically active parents both admire and fear their outspoken daughter. I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like to raise an independent and thoughtful daughter in a world where that could easily get her raped, tortured and killed.
Satrapi does a fantastic job of balancing the normal confusion of adolescence with the high stakes of political unrest. Natural adolescent rebellion has heightened consequences here. Friends and families are torn apart through imprisonment, torture and execution. However, Satrapi doesn’t downplay her younger self’s yearning for friendship, parties, hip clothing and nail polish.
All of this is conveyed with minimal narration and dialogue around sparse black and white illustrations. It’s funny, terrifying, and heartwarming at the same time. Satrapi is only two years younger than me, so I think that it struck a particular chord. Knowing what my life was like at that particular point in history, brought her reality into sharper focus.