Author: Marjane Satrapi
Genre: Autobiographical graphic novel
Published: 2003, 2004, 2005
My Rating: 3.75/5 Stars
Synopsis From Goodreads:
Persepolis is the story of Satrapi’s unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming–both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up.
today I will review Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi. I am currently taking a Feminist Theory course, and this text was the weekly reading for that class, since we were talking about Islam and the Feminist movement. This graphic novel was a 3.75/5 stars read for me. So, without further ado, let’s get into the review.
- Plot: this is an autobiographical text recounting the history in Bildungsroman style of Marjane Satrapi, a now grown Iranian woman, and about her struggle with her cultural identity. Her country was struck by a civil war that saw Iran and Iraq combating against one another. Marjane’s main concern is to maintain her Iranian identity while she is sent to Austria to have a better future, and to detach herself enough from her Western traits once she goes back home. The plot is straightforward, and it tells a real story. However, I did not give this graphic novel 4 stars because it dragged at some points, and, despite the extremely interesting themes the story discussed, I found it boring in more than one section. I don’t think all the scenes were needed.
- Characters: one of the things that I liked the most was how genuinely the main character was portrayed. I found myself sometimes disliking Marjane, and I realized that this showed how well her figure was described, as well as how honest she is at portraying both her qualities and her faults to the world. I really appreciated this. When I finished the graphic novel, I found myself sharing Marjane’s struggle to fit in a society that is new to her, and a society where she returns. Her situation was obviously different than mine, because we come from two completely different cultures and we have different histories, but when I go back to Italy I sometimes feel like it is harder to fit because I have been gone for so long. Another character that I really appreciated was the grandmother. I liked how she was able to conciliate her humor with her strongly ethical ideas, without fearing anyone’s judgement. The last characters I liked were the parents. Both her mother and father deeply love their daughter but at the same time let her become the young woman she wants to be.
- Writing: being a graphic novel, the style of this text was extremely interesting. Images had as much importance as words did, and sometimes even more. Words were able to give me the outline of the story, while the images narrated the feelings, the horrors and the joys. Smaller images were alternated to bigger ones, sometimes unexpectedly, and the power of the visual impact was definitely a major part of the whole experience of reading and learning from this graphic novel. In this case, images are a positive aid to the whole narration, clarifying both the political and the social themes explored in this graphic novel.
In this review, I will not have a Spoiler Alert section, I don’t think it is needed. Overall, I really enjoyed this Graphic Novel, and I think it is a great way to have a general idea of the life in Iran especially from a woman’s point of view. I decided not to get into ethical and or moral debates in my review because this is a space for my opinion on the text as a whole. If you have read it or watched the cartoon, let me know in the comments!
Until next time,