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Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis (edition 2003)

by Marjane Satrapi

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6,404254600 (4.17)321
Depressing and kind of terrifying, but very good. ( )
  comfypants | Apr 28, 2012 |
English (246)  Danish (2)  Swedish (1)  Japanese (1)  Finnish (1)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (253)
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I read Persepolis way back during Banned Books Week, over a month ago. I started writing a review for it a few times, but it never sounded right. This little book is so important that I'm really having trouble putting my feelings into words.

Persepolis is the story of author Marjane Satrapi's experiences during the Islamic Revolution. Now, sure, we all know about the Islamic Revolution. We all learned about it in school, but in my history classes, it was kind of glossed over. I don't remember learning anything about what caused it, the effect it had on Iranian citizens, or anything more than "it happened, and that's that."

But Satrapi will take you through the nitty gritty details of the Revolution. Her family was very progressive. They did not support their new, highly religious government. Satrapi doesn't spare the details of her rebellion, her fear, the friends and family she lost in the war.

A lot of people talk about how great this book is, and for once, I agree. ( )
  Sara.Newhouse | Feb 11, 2016 |
I rarely read graphic novels, but the buzz about this got me (and I love the artwork style too, so that helped.)
Satrapi's stated goal for this story about her childhood in Iran is to humanize the country and the people - to create awareness that Iran is not only a country of religious fundamentalists.
However, after reading it, I took away the impression that things there were worse than I had realized, not better. It is definitely an illuminating book, but don't read it expecting it to be cute and funny. Rather, it's emotionally wrenching and frequently tragic. It's also very good however, and Satrapi doesn't shy away from showing us her own flaws or the ironies involved in that she did come from a very privileged family. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
My colleague in film studies tells me the film is even better than the book, but I have yet to find out. The book, at least, is just short of phenomenal, and if the ending weren't so abruptly, emotionally brutal, I'd have given this a full five stars. As it is, the book is a fascinating outsider-inside view of Iranian culture in the nation's pivotal recent history, from the mid-70s through the Islamic revolution into the mid-80s. I say it's an outsider-inside perspective because the "heroes" of the book--the author and her parents--are all radical secular socialists who frequently act in defiance of whichever power system is in play, especially once the Islamic fundamentalists come into power. But for all their rebellion and resistance, they remain markedly Persian, keenly aware of their history, their culture, and their Muslim religion. Because of this seemingly unique perspective, we Westerners are afforded an opportunity to witness these important historical events and this sometimes-beautiful, sometimes-terrifying culture through eyes that are simultaneously recognizable and foreign. In other words, Satrapi has provided us with the beautiful blend of perspectives and so a perfect means of understanding and learning about Persian life during the revolution and the war with Iraq. I might even go so far as to say this is an important book for anyone interested in or concerned about current events in the Iran, Iraq, or the surrounding region. I look forward to reading the sequel. ( )
  Snoek-Brown | Feb 7, 2016 |
Good story. Loved the graphic novel style. Fast read ( )
  Erika.D | Jan 28, 2016 |
Told in the form of a graphic novel, Persepolis, is the autobiography of Marji Satrapi between the ages of 9-14. The great-granddaughter of the last emperor of Iran, and daughter of Communists, she was poised to have a very interesting view of the Iranian revolutions that shaped the nation into what it has become.

I thought the format was a very interesting way to tell the story. By using the graphic novel format, she makes the recent history of her nation easily accessible to people of all ages. As an adult and history lover, I wanted more information, but given the style of this novel and the fact that it was presented through the eyes of a child, the information was adequate for what this book is. If like me, you find yourself wanting more detail, it's probably a good idea to follow this book up with a more in depth history of Iran. ( )
  Mootastic1 | Jan 15, 2016 |
I didn't find this book as to be as good as a lot of other people obviously did from their reviews. I don't know much about the Iranian revolution and the war between Iraq and Iran. I feel like this hurt my understanding of the novel. I also feel like the book jumped around suddenly between times and I didn't like that each story was at the most 5 pages long. I would have rather had a full length continuous graphic novel that tells the author's story. ( )
  RachelNF | Jan 15, 2016 |
This is a moving and real account of a girl growing up in Iran during the revolution and their country's war with Iraq. The book is a graphic novel, which makes it a quick read. It was enlightening learning about another culture through the eyes of a child and it was a reminder that not all residents of the middle east are religious fanatics. Readers learn the consequences of both revolution and war along with Marji. ( )
  Cora-R | Jan 13, 2016 |
I really liked the art style of this book and how it added to the story. It was intriguing to see the events of the Iranian Revolution from the perspective of a child. ( )
  EllsbethB | Dec 18, 2015 |
This book is a memoir from a girl who grew up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In her life, she tells about her harsh living conditions and realities of war she faces at such a young age.
  laurenmaune | Dec 2, 2015 |
I chose this book because I had already read Perks of Being a Wallflower in high school and this one just seemed interesting. And interesting it was. I understand the controversy surrounding this book and why it is frequently challenged. There's illustrations of dead bodies throughout the text, torture, murder, and even a penis. I will admit I was first taken back by this. I slowly got used to it. I know that children love comics but this book is not really meant for the young. I would put it at high school, maybe 8th grade but thats pushing it. I really did love this book though and what a time to read it at! I found it so coincidental that Marjane lives in Paris now or at least she did at the time when she created her novel. I'm glad I got to learn more about Iran and fundamentalists because it was a subject I knew absolutely nothing about. I loved that it was written from a child's perspective. It was a little hard to follow because again, I knew nothing about any of the information. It left me wanting so much more with the ending that I may just go ahead and get the second book. I feel like I almost HAVE to know what happens. But back to the violence in the book- without the serious images I think that the book would lose a sense of brutality so I understand why she chose to include them. It stressed how serious the situation in Iran really was and all of the scary things Marji faced. I get it. But I also get why it isn't appropriate for children. But I think that this is an important book to read. It taught me so much and it can do the same for others. Especially those that afraid of veiled women because of the media and all the conflict. It opened me up a little. ( )
1 vote kesteves | Nov 24, 2015 |
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is a memoir of a wealthy and sheltered childhood interrupted by revolution. Told through the lens of a eleven year old child, this book focuses on the 1980s revolution in Iran. The black and white illustrations tell the story as much as the words do. I just wish the book also included a vision of the rich cultural heritage that is also the legacy of this centuries old civilization beyond the fundamentalism of the revolution.

Read my complete review at: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2015/10/persepolis-story-of-childhood.html ( )
  njmom3 | Oct 27, 2015 |
see persepolis 2 ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
Persepolis is a memoir of a girl growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. It is the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, she saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime and the devastation that war brings.
  foleysh | Jul 28, 2015 |
This graphic novel highlights issues that most young readers probably are not exposed to until maybe high school. The Islamic revolution told through this lens gives it a very authentic feel that we don't often see in Western society. You get to see brutally at times, how much a culture can shift during someones lifetime and change how society functions. This is definitely something that young readers don't understand about other cultures, and I think its beneficial for them to learn about it, they may have peers who are from these areas, etc.
  loross | Mar 11, 2015 |
Marjane Satrapi uses her own personal experiences to give readers insight into an important part of world history—The Islamic Revolution. The memoir provides clear, striking images of a painful time in Marjane’s life. Although it is fictionalized, the reality of her story cannot be denied. It can be compared to the famous Pulitzer Prize winning Maus. Like Art Spiegalman’s graphic novel about the holocaust, Persepolis provides an awareness of a difficult time in our world’s history.
Satrapi tells the autobiographical tale of Marji, who is ten years old at the beginning of the novel during the years of the Islamic Revolution. Marji struggles with the realities of war, wearing a veil among other mandates, and trying to understand such harsh reality at such a young age. Marji tries to come to terms with the conditions of her country, but ultimately struggles and feels a sense of rebelliousness. Although her parents are very liberal, they feared for Marji’s safety at such a perilous time.
In this novel, readers will discover a bitter part of history, the loss of innocence of a young girl, the harsh reality of war, the difference of cultures, as well as feel a deep connection with a child who experienced a very unique childhood. This is not only an excellent coming of age story, it has a variety of themes to discuss, and the context gives readers a primary account into a piece of history. Class discussions can vary from themes of loss of innocence to cultural identity to social class. In addition, readers can clearly see the development of the protagonist and sympathize and connect with her. The novel is rich in both history and literary development, and the illustrations add a brilliant piece that will appeal to young adults. ( )
  Whitneyhhh | Feb 22, 2015 |
Author and illustrator Marjane Satrapi's memoir of growing up in Iran begins in 1980, when she is just ten years old. After the fall of the Shah, her affluent family finds that their privileged, Westernized lifestyle is no longer sustainable. The Ayatollah's standard bearers of Islamic theocracy are in charge, and they are watching everyone for any deviation from acceptable dress, behavior, or attitude. Those who run afoul of the government's dictates risk imprisonment, torture, and even execution.

The chief pleasure of this book is in its illustrations. Satrapi's childlike but incisive drawings effectively capture both the innocence of childhood and the harshness of life under a repressive regime. Her affection for her parents and grandmother is particularly evident. In the space of a few pages this book manages to go from funny, to heartbreaking, to tender, and back again, without ever seeming manipulative or forced. I highly recommend this book. ( )
  akblanchard | Jan 17, 2015 |
Cartoon novel, easy to read, surprisingly, told first person by a little girl in Iran and the changes in regime from bad to worse, the Shah to Kohlmeni. We watched the movie, Persepolis, at the Chapin Library, "Muslim Journeys" talks. ( )
  bereanna | Jan 10, 2015 |
I'll be honest, I didn't find the writing overly spectacular or groundbreaking. I wasn't wowed by the artistry or the uniqueness of the text. However, I was fascinated from beginning to end. She was raised in Iran, a country I really know very, very little about (and most of what I "know" is probably wrong), but I loved to see the same types of experiences that I had or that my friends had were still the same to what she experienced, despite very different backgrounds and very, very different types of trials in our lives. I thought the artwork did wonders for the text, it brought to life what otherwise could have been some very bland explanations. It was interesting from beginning to end. Definitely worth the read. ( )
  CSTaylor24 | Jan 10, 2015 |
Often thought about using this graphic novel while teaching Contemporary History and/or the culture of Islam, but time constraints have often deterred me from using this graphic novel. Check out this blog post from Teaching Tolerance, http://www.tolerance.org/blog/persepolis-classroom-led-understanding and this lesson plan, http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/pictures-tell-sto..., from ReadWriteThink.org. ( )
  lolhscybrarian | Nov 30, 2014 |
A very cool graphic novel autobiography. It's painful and funny to read, to watch the Marjane Satrapi grow up and go through different stages during the war. ( )
  BrynDahlquis | Nov 24, 2014 |
Persepolis is a graphic novel about a young girl, Marjane, growing up during Iran's Islamic Revolution. It is a true story! Marjane wants to end the war because she doesn't want anymore people to die or any more of her town to be destroyed.

Marjane was very brave! For example, she wanted to wear western style clothes but the Shah's regime said women must wear burkas. She wore her high tops and jean jacket anyways even though that almost got her killed!

This book may look like a fun comic book but it is actually very serious. It shows acts of violence such as whippings and torture and repression such as the government mandating what you must wear and how you are allowed to wear your hair that demonstrate the human cost of war. However, it also shows the resiliency of the human spirit. A resiliency we all carry with us. For example, the ability to laugh through our tears in this case at the absurdity of war. ( )
  KendallCH | Oct 19, 2014 |
I enjoyed Persepolis and learned a great deal about events that happened when I was but a child myself. Marjane manages to capture the humanity of her friends and family in the middle of chaotic times. While the subject matter and presentation are very similar to the Maus books by Spiegelman, I think that Persepolis is more effective in its story telling because the people are left people for the good and the bad. ( )
  pussreboots | Oct 6, 2014 |
Okay, so it's a graphic novel. But a) it's quite good, and b) I'm going to more than make up for any possible "lack of weightiness" by the end of this year, I promise. I've seen excerpts from this book pretty much everywhere, it seems like it was one of the most buzzed about graphic novels from last year. I exchanged a duplicate gift for it in Colorado Springs over the holidays and read it on the way home. I recommend it highly. If you've been living under a rock and haven't heard anything about this book, it's an autobiographical account of growing up as a girl in Iran -- her experiences during the revolution and after which when Islamic leaders took over the country, and the beginning of the war with Iraq. Supposedly there is a sequel in the works? ( )
  greeniezona | Sep 20, 2014 |
I'm still not a fan of graphic novels, but this one was well done. I had heard great reviews and so decided to try it. The format helps to lighten the really tragic story. I'm not sure I could have stuck with this in a regular print book. The graphics were a break to the dark and heavy tale. I'm glad I read it. I learned something. ( )
  njcur | Sep 17, 2014 |
This review (with pictures!) and others posted over at my blog

Persepolis is a memoir turned graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi about her life growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution and the war with Iraq. From the back of the book: “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.”

What I liked:
Generally I don’t read memoirs – probably I’ve never read one – but I am all about graphic novels and that’s the element that really drew me with this book, as well as the lovely cover design. I don’t often find myself reading anything politically charged either, and reading how Marjane grew up through the comic medium was a new experience. Marjane covers her life from years six to fourteen and I enjoyed her perspective and outlook. It was childish at times, yet still very intelligent. The artwork is simple and powerful and oftentimes Marjane’s day dreams or fantasies mix with her panels about real life, creating something really fantastic. I also appreciated the way Marjane handled the politics and religion in her life – it wasn’t overbearing on the reader and I didn’t feel like she was trying to force opinions on me. I also love the overall style of the illustrations.

What I didn’t like:
The ending! This book is only 150 pages and feels very much like one volume of a comic series, rather than a stand alone novel. I was disappointed with the cliffhanger ending – I wanted more! I know there’s a second book and I plan to get my hands on it, but I wish this book didn’t feel incomplete. When I purchased this book, I didn’t realize there was a sequel and had I known I would have waited and read them back to back.


This book was funny, poignant and intelligently written and I can’t wait to read Persepolis 2 as well as more of Satrapi’s work! ( )
  MillieHennessy | Aug 24, 2014 |
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