Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

by Marjane Satrapi

Hardcover(First American)

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Originally published to wide critical acclaim in France, where it elicited comparisons to Art Spiegelman's Maus, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi's wise, funny, and heartbreaking 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: of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life and of the enormous toll repressive regimes exact on the individual spirit. 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 stunning reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, through 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.

About the Author

Marjane Satrapi was born in 1969 in Rasht, Iran. She grew up in Tehran, where she studied at the Lycée Français before leaving for Vienna and then going to Strasbourg to study illustration. She currently lives in Paris, where she is at work on the sequel to Persepolis and where her illustrations appear regularly in newspapers and magazines. She is also the author of several children's books.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375422300
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/29/2003
Series: Pantheon Graphic Library
Edition description: First American
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 149,479
Product dimensions: 6.38(w) x 9.16(h) x 0.69(d)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Marjane Satrapi was born in 1969 in Rasht, Iran. She grew up in Tehran, where she studied at the Lycée Français before leaving for Vienna and then going to Strasbourg to study illustration. She currently lives in Paris, where she is at work on the sequel to Persepolis and where her illustrations appear regularly in newspapers and magazines. She is also the author of several children's books.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Delectable. . . Dances with drama and insouciant wit.” –The New York Times Book Review

“A dazzlingly singular achievement. . . . Striking a perfect balance between the fantasies and neighborhood conspiracies of childhood and the mounting lunacy of Khomeini's reign, she's like the Persian love child of Spiegelman and Lynda Barry.” –Salon

“A brilliant and unusual graphic memoir. . . . [Told] in a guileless voice . . . accompanied by a series of black-and-white drawings that dramatically illustrate how a repressive regime deforms ordinary lives.”–Vogue

"Odds are, you’ll be too busy being entertained to realize how much you’ve learned until you turn the last page.”–

“[A] self-portrait of the artist as a young girl, rendered in graceful black-and-white comics that apply a childlike sensibility to the bleak lowlights of recent Iranian history. . . . [Her] style is powerful; it persuasively communicates confusion and horror through the eyes of a precocious preteen.” –Village Voice

" This is an excellent comic book, that deserves a place with Joe Sacco and even Art Spiegelman. In her bold black and white panels, Satrapi eloquently reasserts the moral bankruptcy of all political dogma and religious conformity; how it bullies, how it murders, and how it may always be ridiculed by individual rebellions of the spirit and the intellect." —Zadie Smith, author of The Autograph Man and White Teeth 

You've never seen anything like Persepolis—the intimacy of a memoir, the irresistability of a comic book, and the political depth of a the conflict between fundamentalism and democracy. Marjane Satrapi may have given us a new genre."
—Gloria Steinem

I grew up reading the Mexican comics of Gabriel Vargas, graduated to the political teachings of Rius, fell under the spell of Linda Barry, Art Spiegelman, and now I am a fan of Marjane Satrapi. Her stories thrummed in my heart for days. Persepolis is part history book, part Scheherazade, astonishing as only true stories can be. I learned much about the history of Iran, but more importantly, it gave me hope for humanity in these unkind times.
—Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street and Caramelo

I thought [Persepolis] was a superb piece of work, not only for the child's eye view—the developing child's eye view—of a society unknown to many of us in the west, and feared and suspected in proportion to being unknown.... Satrap has found a way of depicting human beings that is both simple and immediately comprehensible, AND is almost infinitely flexible. Anyone who's tried to draw a simplified version of a human face knows how immensely difficult it is not only to give the faces a range of expression, but also to maintain identities from one frame to the next. It's an enormous technical accomplishment."
—Philip Pullman, author of The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass.

I cannot praise enough Marjane Satrapi's moving account of growing up as a spirited young girl in revolutionary and war-time Iran. Persepolis is disarming and often humorous but ultimately it is shattering."
— Joe Sacco, author of Palestine and Safe Area Gorazde

This witty, moving and illuminating book demonstrates graphically why the future of Iran lies with neither the clerics nor the American Empire.
—Tariq Ali Author of The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity

"I found the work immensely moving with depths of nuance and wisdom that one might never expect to find in a comic book. It’s a powerful, mysterious, enchanting story that manages to reflect a great swath of Iranian contemporary history within the sensitive, intimate tale of a young girl’s coming-of-age. I didn’t want it to end!"
—Diana Abu-Jaber, Author of Crescent and Arabian Jazz

"A rare and chilling memoir that offers every reader a personal, honest portrait of Iran's recent political and cultural history. Ms. Satrapi's provocative, graphic narrative of life in Iran before and after the Islamic revolution is an extraordinary testament to the level of human suffering experienced by Iranians tossed from one political hypocrisy to another. Aside from the humanistic dimension, the beautifully minimalist Persepolis gives further evidence of Marjane Satrapi's sensitivity and superb skill as an artist."
—Shirin Neshat, visual artist/filmmaker

"Readers who have always wanted to look beyond political headlines and CNN's cliches should plunge into this unique illustrated story. Let Marji be your trusted companion, follow her into the warmth of a Persian home and out along Tehran's turbulent streets during those heady days of revolution. Persepolis opens a rare door to understanding of events that still haunt America, while shining a bright light on the personal humanity and humor so much alive in Iranian families today."
— Terence Ward, author of Searching for Hassan

Blending the historical with the personal is not an easy task, to blend the individual with the universal is even more challenging. But Marjane Satrapi has succeeded brilliantly. This graphic novel is a reminder of the human spirit that fights oppression and death, it is a witness to something true and lasting which is more affective than hundreds of news broadcasts.
—Hanan al-Shaykh, author of Women of Sand and Myrhh

Reading Group Guide

The questions and discussion topics that follow are intended to enhance your group's reading of Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. Persepolis is 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. It is a childhood entwined with the history of her country.

Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran: the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life and the toll that repressive regimes exact on the individual spirit. Satrapi's child's-eye-view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings and executions, 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.

As the Los Angeles Times has written, "Although she may not have intended it, Satrapi has grown into her youthful dream of prophethood. She is a voice calling out to the rest of us, reminding us to embrace this child's fervent desire that human dignity reign supreme."

1. The New York Times hails Persepolis as "the latest and one of the most delectable examples of a booming postmodern genre: autobiography by comic book." Why do you think this genre is so popular? Why did Satrapi chose this format in which totell her story? What does the visual aspect add that a conventional memoir lacks? Have you read other graphic memoirs, such as Maus by Art Spiegelman or Joe Sacco's Palestine? How is Persepolis different and/or similar to those? How does Persepolis compare to other comic books? Would you call this a comic book, or does it transcend this and other categories? Where would you place this book in a bookstore? With memoirs, comic books, current events?

2. Written as a memoir, is Persepolis more powerful than if Satrapi had fictionalized the story? Why or why not? Compare this book to other memoirs you have read. What are the benefits and drawbacks of memoirs?

3. In an Associated Press interview, Satrapi said, "The only thing I hope is that people will read my book and see that this abstract thing, this Axis of Evil, is made up of individuals with lives and hopes." And in her introduction to Persepolis, she explains that she wrote this book to show that Iran is not only a country of "fundamentalism, fanaticism, and terrorism." How does Satrapi go about challenging this myth? How does Persepolis dispel or confirm your views on Iran? In what ways does reading this book deepen your understanding and knowledge of Iran, and the current situation in Iraq?

4. How is Persepolis organized and structured? What has Satrapi chosen to emphasize in her childhood? How is the passage of time presented? Describe Satrapi's drawings. How do the drawings add to the narrative of the story?

5. Describe the writer's voice. Is it appealing? Which aspects of Marji's character do you identify with or like the most, the least? Did your reaction to the little girl affect your reading experience?

6. How did the revolution exert power and influence over so many people, including many educated and middle class people like Satrapi's parents? Why did so many people leave after the revolution? Why do you think Marji's parents send her off to Austria while they stay in Tehran? Why don't they leave/escape as well?

7. "Every situation has an opportunity for laughs." (p. 97) Give some examples of how the ordinary citizens of Iran enjoyed life despite the oppressive regime. What made you laugh? How does Satrapi add comic relief? How are these scenes relevant to the story as a whole?

8. What kinds of captivity and freedom does the author explore in Persepolis? What stifles or prevents people from being completely free? How do they circumvent and defy the rules imposed on them and attempt to live ordinary lives despite revolution and war? Give some examples of their small acts of rebellion.

9. "In spite of everything, kids were trying to look hip, even under risk of arrest." (p. 112) How did they do this? What do you think you would have done had you been a child in this environment? What acts of rebellion did you do as a teen? In way ways is Satrapi just a normal kid?

10. What does Satrapi say regarding disparity between the classes before and after the Iranian Revolution? Discuss some examples that Marji witnesses and contemplates.

11. At the core of the book is Marji's family. What is this family like? What is important to Marji's parents? What environment do they create for their daughter despite living under an oppressive regime and through a brutal, prolonged war? From where do they get their strength?

12. What is the role of women in the story? Compare and contrast the various women: Marji, her mother, her grandmother, her school teachers, the maid, the neighbors, the guardians of the revolution.

13. Discuss the role and importance of religion in Persepolis. How does religion define certain characters in the book, and affect the way they interact with each other? Is the author making a social commentary on religion, and in particular on fundamentalism? What do you think Satrapi is saying about religion's effect on the individual and society?

14. In what ways is Persepolis both telling a story and commenting on the importance of stories in our lives? What does the book suggest about how stories shape and give meaning to our experience? Discuss some of the stories in Persepolis—Uncle Anoosh's story, her grandfather's story, Niloufar's story.

15. What is Satrapi suggesting about the relationship between past and present, and between national and personal history? What role does her family history, and the stories of her relatives, play in shaping Marji?

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Persepolis 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 182 reviews.
Cougar_H More than 1 year ago
I thought the book Persepolis was a pretty good book. Some of the things learned reading this book, is when the bombing sirens would go off the unusual places they would hide. For example, some of the places they hid were in their basements or they would just lay on the ground and cover their heads. For school all the girls were required to wear a veil and a long black robe. The people were not allowed to show any of their hair and had to get rid of their facial hair. I was surprised at their rules, they couldn't have board games and were not allowed to have curtains on their windows. Also they were not allowed to listen to music or have posters. I sure would not like those rules and neither did they. One thing that was confusing to me was when the chapters would end and a new one would begin, the subject would change to something completely different. It was hard to follow the book sometimes. My favorite part of the book was the ending. When the daughter is at the airport and she is leaving her family she turns around to say one last goodbye and her mom has fainted. She says to herself " I should have just kept walking", she said this because this made her sad that her family will miss her and she will miss them. I would recommend this book because it is a book that keeps you interested. It was a very unpredictable book too and there were some twists and turns that makes you want to keep reading. I am looking forward to reading the second book.
Lizzy-at-KSU More than 1 year ago
Persepolis has been around for awhile, so as a teacher I thought I would make a plug for using it in the classroom. Since Persepolis is a graphic text, it encourages multiples literacies (different types of reading and thinking) and inferential thinking by requiring students to read images as well as text. In a world that is so dominated with images, teaching kids how to read images is growing increasingly important. Furthermore, given the tensions in the Middle East right now, Satrapi does a beautiful job on humanizing the Iranian people that most Westerners simply know from 20-sec. newsclips. It also offers historical, yet anecdotal, information on the Iran-Iraq War, politics in the Middle East, gender roles and women's rights. And to top it all off, Satrapi is funny!!! This book is just too full of teachable moments to pass up in the classroom.
sandiek More than 1 year ago
In Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi uses the graphic novel format to share her life story with readers. Satrapi grew up in Iran during the years that the Shah lost power and the Fundamentalist Muslims became the government authority. Satrapi was raised in a modern family that valued education and modern life. Her parents were part of the revolution that forced the Shah from power. They were shocked, however, when the ultra-religous government that took over soon made the freedoms they were used to and expected illegal. No longer could women dress as they pleased; they were instead forced to wear the veil. No longer could the Iranian people travel freely; the borders were closed for over three years, and even when reopened, passports were almost impossible to obtain. No longer could one count on an education; the universities were closed for over two years. Darker items were to follow. There were 3000 political prisoners under the Shah, but there were 300,000 political prisoners under the new regime. Satrapi's family had both relatives and friends that were imprisoned, tortured and some were even executed. Then the government got involved in a war with Iraqi. Bombings were common, and over a million people were killed. Satrapi's use of the graphic format is a perfect match to the story of a young girl whose life changes so dramatically and who tries to make sense of the things happening around her with a child's understanding. Satrapi ended up being educated outside of Iran in her teen years and later, and chose a graphic artist's career. This book was a perfect match for her talent, and her memoir is chilling. To see freedoms taken away gradually is difficult, and when one looks up and sees where the normality markers have moved to, it is eye-opening. This book is recommended to all readers who care about world events, and those who enjoy memoirs.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Persepolis, as the cover reads, is the story of a childhood. A childhood filled with protests, war, and revolutionaries, but told through a young adult¿s eyes and thoughts. Through words and illustrations Marjane Satrapi tells of her experiences as a teen in Iran during the Islamic revolution. The reader watches as Marjane struggles to find her identity as a young woman in a world of turmoil while at the same time trying to figure our the people she loves and those that are intent on making their lives miserable. The readers feels involved in the story as if they were beside Marjane as she questions her faith, her government, and yes, even her father.

While Marjane is in the midst of a relentless revolution, the reader gets the chance to see all of this through a young adult¿s experiences. She is still a normal teenager. While she is busy going to protests and hating having to wear a veil, she is also buying Michael Jackson buttons and posters of American rock stars are hanging in her bedroom. While it does not make the revolution any less severe it is nice to see it from her perspective. Young adults may not be able to identify with what she is going through, but they can probably identify with the way she thinks about the events and handles certain situations.

What Marjane does not write she shows through the illustrations of the graphic novel. In certain frames the pictures tell so much more than the words. They tell the information the author could not put into words, such as revolutionaries being tortured and the remains of her friend¿s house that was demolished during an attack. For this reason and the concepts presented by Marjane, such as communism and religion, along with some strong language this book is more suited to older readers, probably high school age. Even with these age groups there will still be many concepts they will need explained and discussed.

Overall a beautifully written and illustrated book that will open the eyes of young adults and adults alike to the events Marjane and her friends and family witnessed and lived through.
joannachilders on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Even for those who are not fans of the graphic novel format, Persepolis is a worthwhile read. The autobiographical account, told from the perspective of a child gives life to events most young adults only read about briefly in history books. Marjane Satrapi lived during the Islamic Revolution of Iran, and recounts her imagined conversations with God and Marx, how glamorous she thought demonstrations to be, the overthrow of the Shah, and the surprising totalitarian regime that took the Shah's place. Satrapi isn't sentimental, but tells of the executions, rules, regulations, and restrictive lifestyle that led to her being sent to Austria by her parents. Persepolis is a sometimes humorous, sometimes horrifying account of a childhood during the Islamic Revolution.
bpoche on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi's telling of her childhood in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Satrapi's story is compelling as she shares the happenings of her youth in Tehran. The graphic novel format lends itself well to the story and the illustrations, although primitive, had no trouble keeping my attention. Marjane's innocence affects her view of her surroundings, and the reader continues to see her grow and learn through the her own experiences and those of friends and family. The author's exposure to the revolution through different mediums (e.g. her parents, her uncle, through her own eyes) have given her an excellent story to share with great political, social, religious, and even personal weight. It is the everpresent theme of the opressed and the opressor.This was my first graphic novel, and I was suprised to find myself enjoying it. It is a format that I will continue to explore. Students through high school (myself included) would enjoy this book, as it is an important time in history in the Middle East, and it is somewhat reflective of the current happennings overseas(i.e. the Arab Spring).
jenunes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ok. I'll admit it. I really liked Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood. A graphic novel, it was the second I've read which turned to delivering the story via comic strips. The story was quick paced, the vocabulary simple enough, and the pictures unique enough that I would definitely recommend using this book in a high school setting. I believe it would be a perfect example of a book one could use in a World History class setting. There is so much of the world to cover in a single class when teachers are given the task of teaching the history of the world, from 1500 to present day. That is a lot of time and a lot of places. However, in the scheme of things and with political situations now as they are, I believe that this would be an insightful way for students in the classroom to get a glimpse of the world in the middle east not as it was a thousand years ago, through movies like Aladdin and Prince of Persia, but instead is a look at current situations in the Middle East, which is necessary in our modern day world.
comfypants on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Depressing and kind of terrifying, but very good.
NathanielLouisWood on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This stirring memoir recount the childhood of Marjane Satrapi. She experiences loss and harassment due to the revolution. Marjane tries to live a normal childhood, and her parents try to provide it to her despite the restrictions. This book gives those intimate details of daily life which would take extensive research if not spelled out in such personal detail. this book would be a great introduction to the subject of the Iranian revolution, or simply a great read in itself.
chelsea6273 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was so excited about reading this book, as it was on my "to read" list long before even taking this class. I just never got around to it. I was not let down by all that I have heard about this book; in fact, I think I will re-read it this summer. I am coming around to the graphic format, which used to bother me. But after reading the "Maus" series and now "Persepolis," I have opened my mind. Having lived through this, the author is well-qualified to write on this subject matter, and even made it more personal than if the author had not lived through it. I would definitely use this book in high school classes, but probably would stay away from it in middle school classes, as there are some rather graphic pictures that I would not want my middle school students to study.
rwilliamson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This memoire of life in Iran during the Islamic Revolution uses black and white graphic novel format. It was an easy read. The style of drawing sometimes made it difficult to distinguish between characters. I enjoyed this book but wondered if how much the apparent wealth of Statrapi¿s family shielded her from the hardships of the war. Her parents were still able to leave the country to travel to They also took a family trip to Italy and Spain. This book could be used for high school students. Students may contrast it with either other books about the Islamic Revolution in Iran or other memoires told in graphic form (i.e. Maus). Students could be asked in this book and Maus to discuss the authors¿ apparent biases. Students may also be asked to create a graphic novel around an event in their lives. As we are in the New Orleans area Hurricane Katrina is one obvious example. Students may be asked to decide if the lack of color is beneficial or detrimental to the book.
jmsummer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Persepolis tells the story of a young girl growing up during the time of the Islamic Revolution. It gives a view of her life from before the revolution leading up to her parents sending her to France for her safety. This book is unique since it is done in the style of a graphic novel. This does lend itself to the authors story. We always associate comics with children. It also hides the greater subjects in the book: revolution, war, suffering, lose, fear, and hope. Instead of words, you have hand drawn ilustrations to make your mind ask question instead of being told. It is a good choice for visual learners, as they can make their own asumptions about the book based on the picture, which can lead them into dicussion. The artstyle also allows teachers to bring across the subject war and revolution with showing the students actually photographs, which could be offensive or not appropriate for the class. I would use this book together with other history texts dealing with the Islamic revolution and the middle east at the time.
rmthoma2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is a graphic novel and one of the first i have ever read . I personal didn't like it only because its not something i'm used to . The book tells about a girls life living through the Islamic Revolution in Iran . The drawing are all in black and white which adds to the drama of the book . I did like the art work in the book but it was hard for me to follow along to what each part of the book was telling me . I wouldn't use this book in my classroom but kids all learn differently so it can still be used in other classes .
kratzerliz23 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I fist opened this book I thought "Oh great, another cartoon book." But I must say that after reading this book I have a new respect for citizens of Iran who wanted change and fought the regime. This book is enlightening and I know it would be great to read in a classroom learning about the world and its people. As a math teacher I could not recommend using it for math because it does not create any math oriented topics.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A blurb on the back described this "graphic memoir" as the "Persian love child of Art Spiegelman and Lynda Barry." Through childlike simple and whimsical black-and-white comic strips Marjane Satrapi gives us her memoir of what it was like growing up in Iran's Islamic Revolution from the ages of six to fourteen, before she was sent by her family out of the country. I'm not really much of a fan of the graphic novel. For me it just can never have the richness of film or text. A friend of mine who disagrees says I'm just not slowing down enough to appreciate the more visual medium. She may be right--I blasted through this book in little more than an hour--maybe not enough for this to have it's best effect. I did feel I learned a lot about modern Iran and what it was like to be a little girl from a modern-minded family in the midst of a country run by Islamic fundamentalists and during a war (with Iraq) that took a staggering amount of lives. It's pretty impossible not to love the young Marjane and her family, and the tale is at times both poignant and darkly funny. And I admit something about the comic strip format does suit this perspective. So if I'm rating a bit on a curve here, also remember this format isn't my cuppa of tea--so it had to force itself against my resistance to charm its way into my heart--though charm it did.
amclellan0908 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Utilizing the graphic novel format, Marjane Satrapi paints a haunting and clear picture of her childhood, growing up in the time of revolution in Iran. Satrapi omits nothing: from her last visit with her uncle who was executed as a Communist spy to the bracelet seen on her dead friend's hand after a bombing. She begins her saga with the introduction of the veil, which became mandatory to wear in 1980, and an easy point of reference for the reader is Marjie's experience with school, which changes as the revolutions unfold. A unique feature of the text is the preface, where Satrapi revealed the importance of recording her experiences; she wishes to challenge the association of Iran with fundamentalists and extremists.I could see showing portions of this book to introduce students to graphic novel format and to the art of autobiography. Most students are visual learners, and this type of format may help some non-readers to become readers. This also has value as an autobiography that focuses on adolescence; the challenges Satrapi faces will resonate with young adult readers.
wackermt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Persepolis is a compelling story in its own right, and told in graphic novel format it takes on its own unique shape. As I read, what I constantly found myself thinking was "I don't know how she could tell her story any other way, nearly as well." While it takes getting used to, the illustrations consistently underscore Sartrapi's intended emotion in a vivid and compelling way. Frequently she slips in short, snide, slapstick jokes, or beautifully drawn emotion and pain, or will write words in print which are deliberately contrasted or enhanced by the pictures. The story follows young Marjane Satrapi on her childhood experiences growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution, within a family that valued freedom and education. Essentially, it is a coming of age and loss of innocence story, laden with history and factual knowledge for the uninformed reader.Being new to the graphic novel, my initial thought was to shun it. I believe there is an exacting art to the wordsmithing that a beautiful author must master in his or her own unique way. I still believe this is true, and this book can take nothing away from the artistry of many great authors. However, Satrapi makes a compelling argument for the validity of the graphic novel as another suitable medium for conveying truths and emotion.I bought the book for class and saw that it has two parts, but only purchased part one. I am fully intending to read the second part in the near future.
jamiesque on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Persepolis: The Story of Childhood is a graphic novel revolving around a girl growing up in a tumultuous Iran. The story is told through the main character's, Marjane, perspective. As she grows, her perspective shifts and we see the evolution of not only girl to woman, but how family, friends, country and politics shapes that evolution. The book can serve as a quick and quirky read, the tale of precocious youth finding her place amidst termoil. The graphic novel format can lend itself to levity. However, there is depth and sophistication to the memoir, but it takes some careful reading and background knowledge to truely appreciate its possibilities. If I were to use this book in a class, I would prep the students with some background knowledge of the region and its history. In the United States there are many who are not able to segregate Iran's distinct traditions, religions, culture and language from that of the rest of the Middle East. Furthermore, the entire region is glossed over in history classes. When Iran receives any attention in the media today, it revolves solely around nuclear weapons. There are students who can read the words and be amused at the illustrations, but there is so much more to the book. There are layers that an average high school student would not be able to access on their own. The memoir is steeped in history, rife with political references, and oozes political ideologies. The scarcasm, tradgey, irony, and humor reveals itself when the reader has a sense of where it comes from. Providing background knowledge before reading creates context to make the story relevant, encouraging the reader to keep reading and do so vestidly. Pre-reading activities will help transform the novel from something you just glance over into a piece of literature that is intimate and personal at the same time it is informative and insightful in a cultural, political and historical manner. The illustrations, while on the surface seem to appeal to an unsophisticated audience, serve the memoir well. The comic book-like illustrations are able to convey graphic aspects of the novel without being overly gratutous. Pain, anger, joy, dispair, confusion: all of these emotions are well served by the use of black and white ink. A completely blacked-out frame conveys ultimate, unspeakable dispair. A long shadow on a broad street evokes isolation and lonliness. Varying sizes of frames emphasize, shift attention and guide the reader, enhancing understanding. The graphic novel format may not be a personal favorite, but it does enhance the emotional content of the story.
richardderus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rating: 3.75* of five graphic novel, 5* of five filmThe Book Report: So this is the lightly fictionalized life story of Iranian emigre Satrapi, as she grows up in the waning days of Shah Reza Pahlavi's rule, the revolution, and the subsequent theocracy. She emigrates first to Vienna, for school at the Viennese Lycee Francaise, and then after a time back in Tehran, off to Paris. We meet her delightfully outspoken grandmother, her neither-fish-nor-fowl mother, her drippily emotional father, and a host of family members of varying degrees of inimicality to the various horrible regimes Iran has suffered in the past 100 years.Oh, oh, oh how I hate to write these words, knowing how many people will flee screaming into the distance as I do: This is a coming-of-age story.Wait! Come back! It's not that bad, I promise! Well, the film isn't, anyway. I suggest viewing the film instead of the graphic novel.My Review: I don't much like graphic novels, seeing them as pretentious cousins to the comic book. And I never got the hang of comic books. Something that takes me ~10min to read does not make much headway with me. So when I found that my local liberry had both the graphic novel and the film of this title, I thought I'd do a fair test: Read the graphic novel first, then view the movie; compare and contrast.Movie. Definitely. Movie is as beautiful as the graphic novel, but more deeply involving because it's more nuanced in its storytelling style.But make no mistake, both versions are aesthetically sophisticated and artistically beautifully realized. I focused very little on the words of the graphic novel, because they were so-so literature and because the images were so glorious. The same, well not identical but similar, words accompanying the moving images...! Orders of magnitude of difference. Had I only experienced the graphic novel, I doubt I would have bothered to write any sort of review. The film is, well and truly, a masterwork, and possibly even a masterpiece. I know it left me wrung out and still curiously uplifted. I can't say it enough: Rent this film. Watch it with an open heart. It will reward you.
ydraughon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Satrapi's autobiography tells the story of her early life as a girl in late 1970s and early 1980s Iran. The black and white cartoon like story tells of the overthrow of the Shah, the Islamic fundamentalist rise to power, and the war with Iraq. Satrapi's parents favored overthrow of the Shah, but they soon find the the new Islamic fundamentalist gvernment is more restrictive than the last. Under the Shah, she attends a French school, but when the new government takes power, they close schools for two years to make sure the education system was a path to Islam. Her family tries to continue the life that they knew with parties, games and music sneeking under the oppressive government. Satrapi's outspoken rebilliousness eventually gets her into trouble. Her parents, concerned for her safty, send her to Austria to live. This is a good book for high school students. History teachers can use this book to compare and contrast Iran before and after the Islamic regieme. It can be used in classes that discuss politocal repression. ELA and writing teachers can use it to show how write a story in cartoon like format.
enbrown504 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Persepolis is a graphic memoir that tells the story of the authors experience growing up in Iran during the Islamic revolution. The format is an interesting off shoot of the graphic format taking the form of a memoir. The accuracy can be assumed to be dependable since it is a personal account of the author's childhood experience. The text is limited instead relying heavily on illustration to tell the story and make impressions on the reader. The text that is included is small and is often quotation. The organization is narrative and chronological. The story is separated into chapters but they are not summarized in a table of contents. I enjoyed this book and its unconventional format but would find it hard to apply to the science curriculum.
KeithMaddox on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a well-told story with engaging illustration, of an Iranian girl who was born in 1970 and grew up during the Islamic Revolution and the following war with Iraq. The book begins with a short introduction of the history of Iran leading up to the Revolution, which is not sourced. The entire narrative is told in a traditional comic-book style, and is a very personalized, very engaging story of Marjane Satrapi's early life. I think many students would find the juxtaposition of the exotic and archaic culture (in terms of buildings, clothing, and indeed the artistic style itself, which I do not think it would go too far to say would invoke something Biblical to the average American reader) with the modern and exuberent attitudes and material (such as discussions about Socialism, a post-modern view of religion, and rock music and avant garde clothing) to be very interesting and relatable. While some knowledge of modern (and ancient) history would go a long way, and might spare the reader some confusion, I think the material is presented clearly enough that it would be easy for a reader to follow the narrative. As such, I think this makes for a very informative and emotionally inspiring and demanding read. It serves as a cautionary tale in many respects, challenging a student to consider what they would do in the (realistically and personally portrayed) context of repression, revolution, war, and ensuing exile. This book certainly sheds a lot of light on Iran (such as the background history, which is not often discussed too in-depthly or with much balance, the nature of the society, including Marjane's Iranian Jewish friend whose existence I predict may surprise many readers, etc.), which is certainly the center of many important issues that are in the news right now, and probably when you will be reading this review as well. This would certainly interest a student in history, geography, civics, and economics (though to a lesser extent), though language and graphic concepts (though not images) must be considered by the teacher. Middle schoolers may not know the background history, or much of the cultural material discussed, but can certainly follow the story, so I think high schoolers will get more out of this book, though I would not limit it to them. One way this book would be very useful to a teacher would be to encourage (especially artistically-inclined) students to draw a comic book story explaining some concept in social studies, particularly history. This story is a great vehicle for personalizing the often abstract breadth of history, and unlike much of the material out there that tries to do this (like Forrest Gump), this story is true, and represents a primary document which can be used as such. Immigrant students may see a value in this sort of biography, which would be of interest to the whole class, though of course any student could use their imagination to produce great work. On the note that this is a primary document, it is difficult to know when a quote is actually a quote that was said, but I feel one feature of this story that is particularly noteworthy is when Marjane herself states "so-and-so actually said that" which I feel makes this a particularly engaging history (as well as ethnography for the average American student).
jaisidore on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is a memoir of the author¿s childhood life in Iran during the period of the Iranian Revolution. Satrapi articulation of her childhood brings a perspective not familiar with the traditional study of this event and adds to the depth of the subject matter. As depicted in the very beginning pages, the times before the revolution were much different than the time after the revolution. ¿Then came 1980: The year it became obligatory to wear the veil at school¿ we didn¿t understand why we had to¿ (pg 3). Despite the severity of Islamic Revolution, the author focus on her childhood comes to the forefront and provides an understanding of a child who tries to make sense of the world around her. What is most interesting about Persepolis is the graphic novel format for this type of nonfiction. The entire story of Satrapi¿s childhood is accompanied with cartoon graphics which adds visual actions and perspectives to the content to her autobiography. This allows for the book to be comprehended more easily. A negative consequence to the illustrations is that it may not allow readers to develop their own imagery with the given texts. Also, individuals who are not familiar with the graphic novel format may find following the text cumbersome or awkward.What would make this book even more worthy as a teaching tool would be the inclusion of more reference aids which would best enhance context. The time period and the author¿s beliefs needs to be more understood by readers. Coming away with an understanding of the Islamic Revolution and the author¿s world philosophy would not only advance readers¿ knowledge, but also build appreciation for all the various elements of the book as a whole (e.g., format, illustrations, perspective of writer, historical event, etc.). For example, a small glossary would aid with some terminology which provides context, but may be unfamiliar to young readers such as Islamic Revolution. A notes section should be included as a reference to explain some of the elaborate concepts such as Marxist/ Marxism. Undoubtedly, the potential of the work is great. Overall, Persepolis can prove useful throughout many content areas and is worth incorporating into the curriculum.
helenpeynado on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fantastic graphic novel that taught me a bit about the Islamic Revolution. Funny and educational, The daughter of revolutionaries, Satrapi tells the reader about the growing prohibitions in Iran during the Islamic Revolution and the effects on her family.
smoore75 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Persepolis is an autobiography written and illustrated by Marjane Satrapi. Initially, I was skeptical when I saw that it was a graphic novel. I have never been a fan or reader of comic strips, however, I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed reading through her childhood as a witness to the Iranian revolution in the 70's and 80's. Despite the unrest in her country, it seems that young Marjane had a loving and interesting family and childhood. She was well educated and very much loved, likely due to the fact that she was from a family of a higher status. I found the cover intriguing as it is the picture she's drawn of herself in "the veil." There is no bibliography as the recollections come from Marjane and her memories. I really loved her honesty throughout and would recommend the book to an older or mature audience as there are some images and language that would likely be deemed inappropriate by parents and administrators.