Friday, April 10, 2009

Book Review: Persepolis

I've had this graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi on my TBR list for quite some time. Reading it became unavoidable, however, when my son began taking English 1010 at the local community college. Persepolis is the common book used by all the English 1010 classes; each instructor then creates his/her own course using this book in some way. For my son's class, the novel served as the only text, and all the projects and essays centered on various components of the novel.

I've learned a lot as my son progressed through the class. I didn't know much about the Islamic Revolution. "The Shah" was a word I heard now and then when I was a kid, but I had no real concept of what was going on. While I growing up playing kickball at Prospect Avenue school in upstate New York, Marjane Satrapi was the same age and being told she had to wear a veil and could no longer play with boys. While my parents were hoping my Dad got tenured, Marjane's parents were hoping they didn't get imprisoned and tortured. I am, again, struck with the blessings and ease of my simple life.

I have to say I love the format of the graphic novel. The stark black drawings communicate powerful feelings and expressions; it's a perfect medium for conveying the story of Satrapi's childhood. It's a quick read but the images have stuck with me vividly. The power of the written word paired with drawings is amazing.

I'm looking forward to reading Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return as soon as I can find it.

12 comments:

crochet lady said...

Interesting. I have read few graphic novels, but of those, the images have really stuck with me. I'm going to put this on the purchase list for the library I work at. Thanks for the review.

Scrap girl said...

I have to say I have never read a graphic novel,but I think it is something I will have to look into doing. This one sounds interesting.

Literary Feline said...

I was really impressed with this graphic novel as well. The author did an amazing job with it. I hope you enjoy the second book just as much.

Lelia said...

I saw the film (was a chaperone with my son's French Club) & it was incredible

Jessica said...

The powerful story of this young girl is simply moving. I don't know if I liked the childlike drawings in the graphic novel, however. I think it took away from the overall seriousness of the book. I think the thing that got to me most was the fact that she started to be further and further from God, and slowly started not wanting to become a prophet. It's heartbreaking to see what these people had to go through. Graphic novels really are able to express the emotion in the pictures, so you can see and also read what is going on. I think that it was a good medium to choose to write the story with.

mizz berry*** said...

my ap english class is reading this novel and my opinion on the book is that it seems to be a little confusing. There are some things that I do understand like the veil that has to be worn by all females and only their face and hands can be seen. Things that i am able to do, they cant because it is forbidden.

Student with the Blue Jacket said...

Well this blog was referred to me by a teacher of mine and One of our assignments is to make an insightful post, so this is what I'm doing.

I read this book as a requirement for AP English, I knew a lot about Persepolis itself, I knew the history of Ancient Persia, and it's wonderful greatness. Like I understood when she (the author) made references to King Cyrus the Great, a king who did not believe in slavery, believed in equality, etc. Just like King Darius, it kinda ended in King Xerxes reign. If you read up on Persian history, and the history of Iran I think many people might find it interesting and would learn something that fills in the background of the books for those who don't know. This book only touches lightly on that, it's focus being mainly what she's experiencing right now.

I knew about the Islamic Revolution, and understood many of the issues presented in the book because I'm a nerd and research a lot in general,and Ancient Persia is one of my faves.

I can't stress enough that what it is today is not even close to what this great nation used to be.

I didn't really care much for the format of the book, it was unique. It was really neat, the arabic writings were exciting, because I've been studying the arabic language and it was nice trying to pronounce the words.

Anyway nice review.

FC said...

I had to read this book for my AP English class and I have to say it was a pretty good book. Sometimes i found the storyline was scattered and confusing but the fact that it was a graphic novel made it easier to follow. I knew that the people of Middle Eastern countries like Iran suffered both extreme political and religious percicution, but my understanding of their suffering was made so much clearer after reading this book. Seeing the political unrest and years of revolution from Marji's eyes gives an account no BBC reporter could ever match. It has historical relevance to all people of all ages. These people face a real threat. Living their lives day in and day out hiding from religious fundamentalists, they look death in the eyes everytime they walk outside their home, and even there they must use extreme caution. This glimpse of life in a typical Iranian family is very insightful. All in all a pretty interesting read.

Edward Cullen said...

This Novel is full of great information about the Islamic faith. The graphic display did put a lighter note on a serious situation. The material within this novel depicted well what took place in the Islamic Revolution. This situation makes you feel so much more compassion on the people there. The struggles they faced and are facing are things that we have no clue about. Over all, this novel was a great read! It was very easy to keep up with and kept you interested the whole way!

huckel berry washington said...

well i agree with a few of the comments. This was my first graphic novel also, and i have to say i wish every novel was graphic novel. It makes for a much better read. besides the fact of the story is being an easy it was the pictures that stuck out to me the anything. most books want you to create a picture in your mind, but with this graphic novel you see exactly what author wants you to see, you see what she wants her words to mean. this i think gives the reader a better understanding of what's going on. the story of margie life is very horrific and i couldn't even try to put myself in her shoes, but the pictures being so childish softend the context and what she was trying to depict. i think she did this so she wouldn't offend or turn off readers as they was reading

***mizz berry*** said...

(accidentally posted comment and was not finished....my id is miss berry) cont'd:
the graphics in the book were decent, not to horrfic, where i could get a visual on how things were occurring. I think the novel itself was very well put together the way i viewed it is that i am very blessed being that i come from a country that allows you the freedom of speech,...etc. and i cant say that i understand what they go through because i dont. I wish women in other countries were given the same opportunities as me.the novel overall was interesting to read and grasps the attention from the readers to get some what of an understanding on how many lifestyles are different from their own.

**NuNu** said...

I am reading the book Persepolis in my AP English class. I found the book to be an very interesting Graphic novel. The main character in the book Margie was a very interesting young lady. She was very into the troubles her country was going through. Being an America, I found it hard the way they had to live their life; based on how somebody else thought their life should be lived. By taking all their rights away and making them wear vials, they separated the boy and the girls, and they were forced to practice the Islamic religion. The stories of all the people locked up and tortured for fighting for something they believed is horrible. All the people they had in prison probably didn’t deserve to be their. It must have been really hard living in Iran during this time.