Book Review: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

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, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.

I’ll give this story a 3 stars because it had a compelling story but it took me a while to get into it. Let me get through the parts I didn’t like first. The book is a memoir in a praphic novel format. I felt like the graphic part was taken advantage of in a very nice way in the beginning of the book but as the story progressed and built, it got really narrative for me and felt a bit like the graphic element wasn’t being used to its full potential to flush out the story. The story did drag in the middle a bit and i realize that its a memoir and that leans heavily into the narrative structure and i felt myself putting a bit of effort to stick with the story.

This is not to say that the life of the author was any less compelling. The book gives a new insight into the lives of people who experienced the Islamic Revolution from the inside which is not something that gets expressed nor are they given a voice often enough for the rest of the world to know about and develop empathy towards all those who suffered under it as the events unfolded in history. This book gives you a look inside the lives of ordinary people stuck in their homeland during a country’s revolution that affected its own citizens first and how they suffered and lived through it, how it changed their lives even while they tried to hold on to normalcy.

I love that while the book does show revolution and rebellion as it happens but the perspective is through the eyes of a girl’s childhood and her family and how they are mainly just trying to live theri lives and fight for their rights and want to protect their loved ones. It gets personal and tugs at your heartstrings as you see these historical events affecting individual lives. The author’s struggle to go through her young childhood years with heavy historical events in the background definitely reminded me to appreciate the little things in my life as they are precious, fleeting and taken for granted.

I would definitely recommend this book to people. You should absolutely read this for all the reasons I mentioned above that make this book a good choice to widen your perspective in life.

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