“I realized then that I didn’t understand anything. I read all the books I could.”
Before I began to read this graphic novel, the only real knowledge that I had about it was what I had seen in the movie trailer that I saw about 6 years ago. I had been interested in watching the movie, but I hadn’t gotten around to that, so I decided to read the original work first. Yes, I’m aware that 6 years is a long time to “not get around” to watching something… One day. I’m glad that I didn’t see the movie before reading it, though, and I’m excited to read the rest of Persepolis and check out other graphic novels.
Persepolis is an autobiographical graphic novel about the author, Marjane Satrapi, and her life growing up in 1980s Iran. At the time, a huge shift occurred as the Islamic Revolution began and so much about everyday life changed for everyone. As this is the first account of this time that I’ve ever read, I don’t know the actual politics or everything that happened at that time, but I found it fascinating and heartbreaking to see some of the events from her point of view. It is especially touching when you realize just how young she was during this time and all that she witnessed before she even understood what was happening around her and to those that she loved. There is a true innocence in this novel that I don’t come across too often.
It’s difficult to put into words which parts of the novel I “liked” and “disliked” as it is someone’s real life, so I will try to focus on the execution. I loved the graphics and the text as well as the black and white theme. That fit the story so well, in my opinion, and the coloring was probably my favorite part of the novel. Black and white was the most powerful choice.
The writing impressed me in the sense that I was surprised by the amount of information that I found in the pages. This is a relatively short book at 160 pages, but I felt that I learned a lot about this time period and the author. Satrapi includes a ton of information in every chapter and manages to pack a lot of emotion into the novel. At first I was a little thrown off by the feel of her talking to me and there are some parts where the drawing is an image of her looking out of the book as she “speaks”, but that worked out really well in the end. In fact, those parts ended up being some of my favorite parts of the novel.
I’m excited to read volumes #3 and #4 of Persepolis and can’t wait to find other graphic novels to read. I am always open for suggestions as I’m very new to them, and I’d also love to know what you think about this one.
According to Goodreads, a couple of similar graphic novels are The Rabbi’s Cat by Joann Sfar and The Photographer by Emmanuel Guibert. More information about Persepolis can be found on Goodreads.