Persepolis I by Marjane Satrapi

Subtitled “The Story of a Childhood”, Satrapi’s graphic novel memoir covers her childhood during the Islamic Revolution in Iran, from the reign of the Shah to the rise of the fundamentalists. It exposes the contradictions that can exist between life at home and how one must act in public during a violent revolution, and shows how bewildering it is for a child to comprehend the changes around them.

I was really excited to read this novel and was looking forward to read it for my literature class. When I started it, I quickly devoured the first twenty or so pages before becoming, well, bored. I understand it’s a memoir but I felt like I didn’t have much to go on. There wasn’t a very deep understanding of the characters and their motivations, and I had a difficult time distinguishing her characters from one another even when they weren’t wearing the veil. It’s supposed to be the point of view of a child, but I think it was oversimplified in order to emphasis that point.

Quite a few people in the blogging world and on GoodReads have likened Satrapi’s memoir to that of Art Spiegelman’s exploration of his relationship with his father and the Holocaust as a graphic novel in Maus, but I cannot see the connection. (That may also be why I so disappointed by Persepolis I.) There are layers of complexity in Maus that Persepolis just doesn’t have.

Others’ Thoughts:

Books Mentioned:

  • Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis I: The Story of a Childhood. New York: Pantheon, 2003. Print. 153 pgs. ISBN: 9780375714573. Source: Gift.
  • Spiegelman, Art. Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History. New York: Pantheon, 1991. Print. 160 pgs. ISBN: 9780394541556. Source: Library.
Book Cover © Pantheon. Retrieved: March 18, 2010.
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4 thoughts on “Persepolis I by Marjane Satrapi

  1. I haven’t read Maus, so it is good to know that you think it has layers of complexity. I did enjoy Persepolis, but didn’t think it was the most amazing book on earth. I found large chunks of it to be quite dry – the film was much better.

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    1. We’ll be watching the film in my literature class so I hope I find it much better like you, Jackie. And you should definitely read Maus. It’s one of the best graphic novels I’ve ever read.

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  2. I didn’t enjoy Persepolis as much as I expected either. Bored is a good way of describing my dissapointment. I certainly lost interest after a while.

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