Saturday, August 29, 2015

Graphic Novel Review of Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marane Satrapi

Synopsis: "Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, 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.

Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Marjane’s child’s-eye view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, with laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love."

My Review: This was an interesting one for me. It didn't really capture me but the subject matter wasn't really something that interests me a lot. There is quite a history presented in the graphic novel and I wonder how much is truth and maybe what was embellished upon. It does do a great job of showing the drastic changes that were happening in Iran over that particular time period and how quickly people were expected to adjust to new laws and rules (and also how they managed to keep some of their favorite activities in secret). As far as the style, it was a little overwhelming, the whole thing is black and white with tiny boxes of text and images. It would have been nice to have a little color to break up the pages, with the at times dark subject and the art style and text it made it hard to keep focused.

My Rating: While I do occasionally enjoy memoir graphic novels, this was too much dark for my liking (between the subject matter and the art style). I give it a rating of Two Paws.


  1. I suppose the black and white might have been symbolic but it would have bothered me too much.

    1. Sometimes the black and white works and it may have worked in this one if there wasn't so much crammed on each page.