Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Book review: Persepolis

Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, is like nothing I've ever read before. I'd never even considered picking up a graphic novel until I heard about this book. I'm so happy I decided to give it a chance.
Persepolis follows Satrapi's life as she grows up in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution. It's a subject I knew very little about beforehand, and likely never would have learned more about if it hadn't been for Persepolis. I thought the graphic novel format worked really well. It allowed me to absorb a lot of information without feeling overwhelmed by it. One thing that really impressed me about this book was that Satrapi does not try to make herself look like some sort of hero. She did some awful things, and puts it out there for all of us to see. It makes her character really relatable. It's almost painful at times, looking back at those events from her past, but before judging her too quickly I had to remind myself that I did some stupid things in my youth as well.
Sense of place and belonging are a strong theme in Persepolis. Marji is sent away by her parents to protect her from the unrest that is going on in her country. While it's almost certainly the best thing for her, it does have some negative effects. While studying in Vienna, Marji doesn't feel like she fits in there. And when she returns home, she doesn't fit in there, either. She feels as if the struggles she endured are nothing compared to what her friends and family endured during that same time. In the end, I felt that she was able to find herself. If she hadn't, I don't think she would have written Persepolis.

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