Monday, March 12, 2018

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is Satrapi's memoir of growing up in Iran, leaving her family for Europe during the Iranian Revolution, returning to Iran as a westernized woman, and then her eventual self-exile.   And it's all done as a graphic novel.

It's a very honest telling of her story and the artistry of the panels is amazing. She tells stories of her own life that definitely put her in a poor light (becoming homeless, getting a guy arrested falsely) and I struggle to imagine if I would be as willing to put my own mistakes on the page in such an open fashion.  It also does a great job of humanizing the people of Iran - something that we don't always do a good job of in the United States. The stories of day to day life in Iran, through all of the political turmoil, were really some of the most remarkable pages.  The perspective of a young Iranian woman is one that I don't think we get much of and it's an important one to listen to, I think.

I didn't much like Marjane, though. I thought she was self-absorbed and indulgent. And, I mean, yes, of course she is - she's a child and an adolescent through much of the book.  But not wanting to be with this character meant that I would read five pages and put the book down for days on end, read another five pages and then put it down for another couple of days. I didn't want to read it and only managed to read it when I puposefully took it as the only book on a car trip.

So, yes, it's good.  And I think it's an important book.

But I would probably only give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. It's just not a book that speaks to me.


1 comment:

  1. This reminds me of a book I read years ago and really enjoyed -- totally different country, though. It's called "Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia" by Carmen Bin Laden and I thought it was so interesting to read about the author's life in a country I know so little about. You and I so rarely agree on books, so I know it's unlikely you'd end up enjoying it, but I didn't find that it had the things that bothered you about the one you just reviewed.

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