Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

A New York Times Notable BookA Time Magazine “Best Comix of the Year”A San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times Best-sellerWise, 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, ye...

Title:Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:037571457X
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:153 pages

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood Reviews

  • Bookshop

    They are among the rare books that I give a 5 which means:

    a. they will come with me wherever I go

    b. I will read them again and again until I remember every single sentence

    c. I will not lend them to people :p.

    Tita introduced me to these books. I have been very interested on Iran and was even contemplating to read the autobiography of Farah Pahlavi, the Empress of Iran. After repeated visits to the bookshop to flip the pages of this autobiography, I wasn't sure if I wanted to part with my money fo

    They are among the rare books that I give a 5 which means:

    a. they will come with me wherever I go

    b. I will read them again and again until I remember every single sentence

    c. I will not lend them to people :p.

    Tita introduced me to these books. I have been very interested on Iran and was even contemplating to read the autobiography of Farah Pahlavi, the Empress of Iran. After repeated visits to the bookshop to flip the pages of this autobiography, I wasn't sure if I wanted to part with my money for the typical self-indulgent autobiography.

    So Persepolis immediately caught my interest and I wasn't disappointed.

    The books tell an honest and poignant story of a well-to-do family during the political turmoil in Iran from the perspective of the little and, in book II, adult Marjane Satrapi. The story is told thru' a stark black and white drawing. I marvel at her ability to present only relevant and interesting highlights of her life and Iran and meld them all to one solid, flowing story. They are sometimes tragic moments but told without self-pity. In between, there are generous doses of light, funny moments. I laugh and I cry reading this book.

    One of the most powerful parts for me is when the parents, who love her so much, let her go to study in Austria. She talks about how horrible goodbyes are and how important it is not to look back after you say your goodbyes. You can be scarred with the image you see when looking back. How true...

    I won't say more about these books. All I can suggest is read them. You won't regret it. They open mind to what hardship can be when freedom of self is not allowed. They are enganging. They are entertaining. They are sad. They are funny. They are everything I hope a book can be.

    Thanks Tita.

  • Pramod Nair

    – Advice to Marjane’s from her grandmother.

    ’, the first volume, is the intimate memoir of a spirited young girl who had to grow up in the chaos of a society under a stiffly ruled regime whi

    – Advice to Marjane’s from her grandmother.

    ’, the first volume, is the intimate memoir of a spirited young girl who had to grow up in the chaos of a society under a stiffly ruled regime which was going through phases of unrest in the form of oppression, revolution, horrors of war and religious rigidity. ‘Marjane Satrapi’ was born in 1969, in Rasht, Iran and the country was going through a momentous political transition during that time. Through bold and contrasting black and white inking and simple artwork the artist opens a window through which the reader can witness the daily life, it’s emotions, the history and terror from those days leading to and following the Islamic revolution

    .

    ‘Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood’ brings some of the key moments of Iran’s history during the 70s and 80s –

    – all beautifully intertwined with the personal moments from Marjane’s family with strong humor which makes the narrative more special for the reader.

    Marjane was born into a well-to-do family and her parents were quite liberal in their outlook and this makes Marjene who is intelligent and outspoken as a child to have her own opinions and views on everything that is happening around her. At times her outspoken character and passion for freedom lands her in trouble at school and even with authorities. Being born into a well-to-do atmosphere helps her in bringing out the sharp contrast in her family’s life and the general life of the outside public in a vividness, a contrast which is contributed by the clever use of the black and white frames. Though each frame Marjane try to find an explanation and solution for the madness happening around her.

    Some of the visuals – like those which show her having imaginary conversations with god about matters around her when she is nine; conversations with her uncle who was imprisoned in U.S.S.R; the way she shows her anger at God asking him to ‘

    ’ from her room on the night of hearing her uncles death; her visual interpretation of the state fed recruitment campaign of ‘

    ’; she furtively smoking a cigarette in protest against the ‘

    ’ of her mother and then self declaring ‘

    ’; she glimpsing the horrors of war through victims of chemical warfare at a hospital facility - are quite powerful in their depiction.

    In the scene where Marjane comes across the body of her friend from the neighborhood among the rubbles after a missile attack there is a single frame of illustration, which can be seen as one of the most brilliant uses of the visual format of storytelling. When she covers her face in horror with her hand, the total numbness and pain that Marjane feels over her friend’s death can be experienced in next cartoon panel, which is totally blank and black with a small subtext, “

    ”.

    This cleverness and creativity of the author as an illustrator can be further seen in the depictions of the young Marjane herself. The various emotions – surprise, anger, frustration, confusion, helplessness, terror - that the artist capture on the face of young Marji gives the character a soul which can make her feel like a long known friend for the reader. The narrative of the first volume ends when Marjane leaves for Austria when she is 15 to continue her studies at a more liberal and open European environment.

    ‘Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood’, is a powerful and heartbreaking graphical rendering of the dark times of a society which was shrouded in the horrors of war and oppression from the viewpoints of a young girl who is confused and trying to understand what is happening around her. The tasteful humor and dominant insights that the author artfully infuses into her visual panels gives this book a freshness, which will invigorate reader rather than completely sliding him into the chasms of depression and sadness. This is one of those graphic novels, which can find audience even among those readers who are quite skeptical about the comic-book genre.

    : Since ‘Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood’ is told from the perspective of the young Marjane, the

    seems to focus around expressing her confusions, her doubts and her attempts in trying to understand the world into which she was born. Understanding the fact that the author was not trying to create an accurate historical or political volume on Iran will help you in enjoying this book in a better way.

    This can be read from the words of Marjane Satrapi herself in an interview from 2008.

    "

    "

  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    Find all of my reviews at:

    Of all the banned books I’ve read over the years,

    one might be the one that I

    can’t figure out a reason for banning. There have been some selections that my children aren’t quite old enough to read or fully understand, but they are still tiny humans. In a couple of years I’ll gladly let them peruse my bookshelves and read whatever all of the nutters tell them not to. It was thinking of those nutters that left me shaking my

    Find all of my reviews at:

    Of all the banned books I’ve read over the years,

    one might be the one that I

    can’t figure out a reason for banning. There have been some selections that my children aren’t quite old enough to read or fully understand, but they are still tiny humans. In a couple of years I’ll gladly let them peruse my bookshelves and read whatever all of the nutters tell them not to. It was thinking of those nutters that left me shaking my head at the choice of banning

    . I mean, there’s no sex, no drugs, no foul language – it’s simply a memoir of a girl who lived through the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Generally when the whackjobs take a break from their cultlike book burnings they are

    sharing anything that points out how horrible the Middle East is. I guess at some point they just decided to go all Oprah with respect to book bans . . . .

    *shrug*

    I, for one, am absolutely delighted that Banned Books Week led me to discover

    . What a brilliant (and so very important) little book. Marjane Satrapi was able to detail the history of the Revolution and its lasting effects on not only her family but Iran as a whole with humor . . .

    a

    of humor . . .

    and compassion . . .

    and the heartbreak of a nation combined with the reality of her own life . . .

    It showed that no matter what might be broadcast on the evening news that people are people and even those of us who are separated by half a world have more similarities than differences. It also tackled how important it is to talk to your children about big issues . . .

    and to open their mind even further by using the thing the banners continue to try (but fail) to take away . . . .

    My friend

    was the first to express his love for

    when he saw it on my “Currently Reading” list and he unleashed his rebellious side and read a banned book this week too. I hope my kids are half as awesome as he is when they grow up. And to any other “kids” out there reading this – just say

    . . .

  • Anne

    I knew a little about Iran. Not much, but a little. I knew it had been through a lot of changes, and that most of those changes had been steps backward when it came to personal freedom.

    Alright. What I didn't know was the hows and whys. And to be honest, it never occurred to me to delve much deeper.

    I knew a little about Iran. Not much, but a little. I knew it had been through a lot of changes, and that most of those changes had been steps backward when it came to personal freedom.

    Alright. What I didn't know was the hows and whys. And to be honest, it never occurred to me to delve much deeper.

    People in my country

    to wear burkas, so I just assumed most of the people in Iran thought it was a good thing.

    Now, maybe my original views sound sort of stupid, but in my defense, I honestly don't understand why anyone does

    when it comes to religion. So covering yourself head to toe doesn't sounds any weirder than not using birth control, avoiding certain foods, or refusing medical treatment. And don't get me started on that My Husband is the Head of the House shit...

    My point is, if people willing do

    things because of religious beliefs, why not clothing stuff?

    But really this story is about much more than just clothes. It's about the slow and methodical war waged on freedom of

    kind in Iran, and it's told through the eyes of a woman who lived through it as a child.

    Since she comes from a wealthy and educated household, you get a different perspective than maybe you would otherwise. Her parents are actively protesting the changes, while also trying to maintain a sense of normalcy in their home.

    Growing up in a home like that made an impression on her, and you can see how she bucks and rebels as she approaches her teenage years. She wasn't raised to be quiet and docile, so she chafes under her country's regime.

    My son and I read this one right around the same time, and he thought it was an incredibly enlightening story, as well.

    Actually, he said something like this:

    Anyway, I'm looking forward to reading the second part of this story, because...

  • Giulia

    I went into

    with all the ignorance of an European girl born in the '90s. With all the ignorance of someone who sees war and conflict from afar, who is been used to being safe her whole life - because war just doesn't happen around here. Because we may send our soldiers to fight, but it's always

    Things are changing. I don't feel that safe anymore. And in a time of fear and escalating paranoia, when people all around me murmur and whisper that

    I went into

    with all the ignorance of an European girl born in the '90s. With all the ignorance of someone who sees war and conflict from afar, who is been used to being safe her whole life - because war just doesn't happen around here. Because we may send our soldiers to fight, but it's always

    Things are changing. I don't feel that safe anymore. And in a time of fear and escalating paranoia, when people all around me murmur and whisper that

    , blinded by ignorance and hatred, I feel the need to do something for my

    ignorance. To educate myself on all the things I still don't know about the world.

    I didn't know a lot about the Islamic Revolution in Iran. The history books I read at school and university do not seem to care about it very much; it's always about the West. Students barely have any idea of what the past was like in the rest of the world, because the general opinion is that they do not really care. The few things I knew about it were just from the news and the newspapers, a book here and there, a fleeting mention by my parents; but still, a very faraway reality. I am a fairly political person, if you can call it that, but I'm not trying to turn this into a political debate. Terrorism has always been real. Strangely enough, though, we hardly ever hear of all the people that are killed in the Middle East, because their lives seem somehow to be less important than ours. Because until something hurts

    - the ones with the money, the power, the technology and the weapons - it remains invisible.

    is Marjane Satrapi's autobiography, set in Iran in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The art style is simple, in black and white, almost childlike, and its simplicity manages to make the narrated events even more impactful. Satrapi tells the story of the Islamic Revolution with the innocent voice of a young girl and yet, it is immediately evident how easily her mind was influenced by the world around her - her school, her parents, the news, the things people told her. She did not know what to believe. Had the Shah truly been chosen by God? Did she really have to wear the hijab, if she didn't want to? Why did she have to go to an all-girls school? Why couldn't she wear tight jeans, or denim jackets, or go to parties?

    My impression is that the Western world often wants us to think that it's

    , the oh-so-civilized West against the Middle East, and to forget that the people who are

    fundamentalists are, in fact, the vast majority. Satrapi doesn't try to make her childhood in Iran look better than it was, but she doesn't try to make Iranians look like pliant puppets either. They fight. They resist. Satrapi's parents are revolutionaries, and since childhood she experiences the fear of imprisonment and death, sees her classmates go to their fathers' funerals, the people around hear flee to Sweden, the United States, England. After a while, she starts to rebel, too. In the middle of Teheran, the fighter-bombers cross the sky and people are forced to hide because of the bombings, and still, Marjane speaks up at school, listens to Iron Maiden, and reads books she's not supposed to read. In her own way, just like her parents, she fights back too.

    I can't recommend this graphic novel enough. It does not spare the reader the horrors of war, but it also shows things from the naive and yet extremely perceptive perspective of a child. It is not an history lesson - though it does give a lot of information about the Islamic Revolution in Iran, which I really appreciated - and it is both moving and educational.

  • Natalie

    is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. It was an eye-opening, heartbreaking and thought provoking book— I had many thoughts and feelings while reading, so much so that I had to put it down multiple times to take a breather.

    I was in a haze for a very long time after finishing it— and I kept questioning everything in my surroundings.

    Here are some instances that made me put down the book and think for a while (they contain

    ):

    (Those

    is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. It was an eye-opening, heartbreaking and thought provoking book— I had many thoughts and feelings while reading, so much so that I had to put it down multiple times to take a breather.

    I was in a haze for a very long time after finishing it— and I kept questioning everything in my surroundings.

    Here are some instances that made me put down the book and think for a while (they contain

    ):

    (Those final moments broke my heart.)

    resonated with me deeply.

    The relationships between the families, especially between Marji and her mother, also hit home for me.

    There was one instance in particular that stayed with me— when her mother was willing to sew posters into her own coat just to bring them back to her daughter without marks.

    (It actually

    when she thanked her father first.)

    And the feelings of fear and terror and bravery Marji felt during the war were captured in such an honest way that I couldn't help but feel them with her.

    The incredibly supportive women and men in Marji’s life were inspiring. They all held a significant part in her journey, and it just made me tear up towards the end, especially when Marji left for Vienna.

    (I just... I keep looking at that last frame and tearing up.)

    All in all, this graphic novel was a complete game-changer for me, and I seriously cannot believe it took me so long to pick up.

    ,

  • Mohammed Arabey

    --------

    I loved Marjane so much and her amazing parents.

    It take place from

    , where the young girl witnessed all the depressive rules of the new “Islamic Government”

    The good thing is the richness of her family both in money and culture...even their ancestors.

    That makes a very helpful great insight into the history of Iran, and the major political turns. Most of these things I didn't know - or even if I read it once in text books I may never remember it as I will after reading this novel-

    I loved her wanna be a prophet.. it's of course unspeakable in my religion but it comes in a childish nice way...that's okay since she wanted the good deeds as Zarathustra.

    This first part is divided into 9,10 pages chapters, each with a title that may makes small appearance or bigger one but it has strong effect in the story. It's brilliant really I loved the naming of the chapters so much.

    There was a good

    and how the new government effects them, but I felt that adding a Jewish family into the story was just “inserted” for the purpose of showing diversity and how everyone been effected by the horrors of the war.. it really could have been presented better to not feel that “alien”.

    I loved that

    feel that everyone in the middle east must got with the passion about the western music and culture. And was hard to see how much trouble it get those who liked it in that time in Iran.

    Mohammed Arabey

    20 July 2016

  • Rachel Reads Ravenously

    So in an effort to diversify my reading (aka read something other than romance for once) I joined the Goodreads group Our Shared Shelf, a feminist book club run by Emma Watson. With the recent political climate in the US, I wanted a way to expand my mind and find other readers to relate to. I highly recommend this group, and while I am more of a lurker than a discusser, it’s a lot of fun and great to be surrounded by intelligent, like-minded people.

    Persepolis is a book this group read

    So in an effort to diversify my reading (aka read something other than romance for once) I joined the Goodreads group Our Shared Shelf, a feminist book club run by Emma Watson. With the recent political climate in the US, I wanted a way to expand my mind and find other readers to relate to. I highly recommend this group, and while I am more of a lurker than a discusser, it’s a lot of fun and great to be surrounded by intelligent, like-minded people.

    Persepolis is a book this group read about a year ago, but when I saw it amongst the material the group read I knew immediately I wanted to read it. When I was in college my World Literature class watched the movie (I know, the movie and not the book? *sigh*) and I have been meaning to read it ever since. On top of that I live in Los Angeles, a heavily Persian community and many of my real life friends are from Iran, so I was interested in learning more about the history of this country.

    This book is an autobiographical memoir by Marjane Satrapi, mostly of her childhood living in Iran in turbulent times. It takes place mostly during the late seventies and early eighties, and depicts what life was like for her in a changing country. Marjane and her parents are rebels against the new regime, seeing that what the government is telling them isn’t always true. This book shows how Marjane adjusts to a new restrictive lifestyle as well as a history of the country told by her. It was very personal, you feel what Marjane feels. I fell in love with her as a character, you cannot help it while reading this book.

    I highly recommend this to anyone who is willing to read something outside the box, and anyone eager to gain perspective on events in other countries that you may have not known before.

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