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Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis (edition 2003)

by Marjane Satrapi

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6,472259592 (4.17)325
Depressing and kind of terrifying, but very good. ( )
  comfypants | Apr 28, 2012 |
English (252)  Danish (2)  Swedish (1)  Japanese (1)  Finnish (1)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (259)
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Satrapi manages to tell the story of her childhood in Iran during the Islamic Revolutionóîduring years of closed borders, wars, and shortagesäóîwith alternating humor and fear. She does a great job using black and white only, as it is stark and fully appropriate to the time and place.

Powerful. ( )
  Dreesie | Apr 12, 2016 |
I picked this book up because it popped up on a banned book list. The memoir is told in a graphic comic book style in black and white picture. Told through the eyes of a young child during the over through of the Shah of Iran and the takeover by fundamentalists. I believe the book was in a young adult library there are several panels on torture that could be a little rough for younger readers but overall the format somewhat lightens the dark nature of the text but does not shy away from the horror. ( )
  yvonne.sevignykaiser | Apr 2, 2016 |
Finally a graphic novel where I was not distracted by the artwork. Here the experience was enhanced by it tremendously. ( )
  mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
Finally a graphic novel where I was not distracted by the artwork. Here the experience was enhanced by it tremendously. ( )
  mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
An excellent account of Satrapi's childhood in Iran that reflects on the cruelties of social groups as well as war. Mature topics of rape, murder, torture, and war are covered in the work, but are not overwhelming because of the simple black and white drawings.

I used three chapters of this novel in my sophomore English class to provide one of three Islamic perspectives after the Paris Attacks last November. Students analyzed our news and three different works by Islamic authors, and wrote a compare and contrast essay on how these perspectives are represented within American news networks. ( )
  MagLuCliff | Mar 7, 2016 |
If you are like me, you have staunchly resisted the rising flood of graphic novels, projecting them as a new and foreign entity that you feared could scarcely be called literature, and evidenced the decline of society. I, however, began to suspect that this was prejudice talking, and in the name of cultural awareness, broached my first graphic novel in the unexpected form of a memoir entitled Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi. Through the developing eyes of a girl spanning ages 6-14, this memoir, set in the Iranian city of Tehran, recounts eight years (1980-88) of non-stop political and social upheaval in the form of the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the Islamic Revolution, and the Iran Iraq war. While at times controversial for its political and religious setting, Satrapi insists that it is not the purpose of her memoir to comment on these spheres, but simply to tell her story of what it means to be Iranian (the Guardian). Wanting to sample the top of the genre, I chose Persepolis because it claimed comparisons with the graphic novel Maus (Pulitzer '92), won a handful of random book awards, and has been taught in college classrooms. I ended up enthralled by both a genre and topic that held no previous interest for me.

Persepolis (meaning the Persian city) begins with a precocious Iranian six-year-old, Marjane, who is convinced that she is destined to be God's greatest prophet who will overthrow social class divisions and right the ills of old people. She has unceremonious conversations with God about this in her bedroom. It grows into the account of a stubborn, and still precocious, fourteen-year-old. Outspoken—she takes a stand in the classroom over new laws such as the requirement to wear a veil (foolishly or bravely I am not sure, but certainly fourteenly), and in political demonstrations. Compassionate—she mourns and aids her friends, neighbors, and family as some flee the country, some are imprisoned, and others are killed. Perhaps most strikingly, some are even brainwashed to become martyrs, blowing themselves up in mine fields in exchange for a golden key to heaven. Marjane hasn’t forgotten to enjoy childhood; she revels in western music stars, cute clothes, and parties concealed in her underground world, but—independent—she forges an identity all her own in the face of a changing and stifling society.

Before reading this account I had no interest in Iranian history, nor did I feel emotionally connected to what it would be like to wear a veil against my will, or watch my peers become martyrs to a cause that has hurt those I love. Now, I am moved by these eight years of history both as a big picture, and as the day-to-day experience of one small family who isn’t all that different from those closer to my home.

Finally, Persepolis would lose a chunk of its poignancy if it had not been a graphic novel. Reading it, I felt like I was watching a play. In the same way as you understand a play differently by seeing it, rather than merely reading it, the illustrations add subtext to the words. I particularly enjoyed the straightforward and uncluttered style of Satrapi’s illustrations. They are black and white, primarily framing facial expressions and sequences from Marjane’s imagination. This genre has the potential to engage the heart more directly as images do, while also engaging the mind through the reader’s active participation with the text. In any form, if a book engages with truth and heart it has got my attention.

Read more book reviews at Book On A Crag
( )
  mandy42990 | Feb 26, 2016 |
Very moving story of a girl trying to come to terms with her chaotic reactions to the events that have shaped her life and her country.

I've read the book three times now and I was struck this time through by Marjane's openness to suggestion in the early part of the tale. She seems to react to every impulse and idea presented to her in exactly the way a child would be expected to. It makes the very intense and 'grown-up' ending to the book agonizingly poignant.

Highly enjoyable, in a cathartic sense, and now I can't wait until 1/22/11, when I will be moderating a book discussion group on this title at the library at which I work!
( )
  MartynChuzz | Feb 22, 2016 |
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 |
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