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Review: Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi)

The Deets:
Audience: anyone, older readers (due to a few graphic images of mature material)
Pages: 160
Publisher: June 1st 2004 by Pantheon (first published January 1st 2000)            
ISBN: 9780375714573
Genre: memoir, nonfiction, graphic novel
Source: Library copy

Persepolis: The Story of a ChildhoodWise, 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.

In one word: Poignant.

For anyone that does not like to approach nonfiction should give Persepolis a chance. It's an interesting look into Iranian culture during the Islamic Revolution. In this edition of Persepolis, the young Marji learns many lessons about life and her culture. She has a unique family situation, so she is raised a bit differently than her peers. Her life experiences and observations help show an outsider what it was like growing up in Iran during this time.

I will admit, I do not know much about the Islamic Revolution or Iraq's invasion of Iran in the 1970s. That was way before my time and I was just a kid in the 1980s. Needless to say, this story was fascinating for me. I was instantly engrossed with what was happening around Marji and within the walls of her home.

Like all graphic novels, there are many details left out. As a reader, you were left filling in the gaps with what was happening outside of her home. Since she was a young child during this time, the information is shared in the perspective of a young child. The adults in her life were the real enlightenment.

I loved the author's humor. Information was given, but it was sprinkled with a kind of wit and insight that made me connect instantly with what was being shared. I could not put this book down, and I consider it a must read.


  1. I read the second book when I was in university. It delves into the history a little bit more since she's a young woman at the time. It was an awesome required read for school but also a really good book in general.

  2. I love this graphic novel. I think everyone should read this! AMAZING. The artwork the writing, just great!!!!


  3. Angie, I saw you read this one on your blog too, but I couldn't post. It was before you fixed the comments problem we were both having.

    Kaley-- I read the 2nd one right after this one and loved it! I thought book 2 was much better. I wish there were more.


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