Book review: Persepolis [PICS]

Eid Mubarak to my Muslim friends and may your day be filled with love and happiness!

On this joyous occasion, I would like to share a recent find which was insightful and wonderfully hilarious though it left me feeling heavy-hearted after.

Persepolis selfie“Persepolis” is an autobiographical graphic novel series spanning over two books by Iranian-born French cartoonist and illustrator Marjane Satrapi. It is a satirical account of her childhood and young adult years during the Islamic Revolution in Iran. In case if you are wondering, this is exactly the same period depicted in Oscar-winning film “Argo” directed by Ben Affleck.

The beauty of this graphic novel is its multi-dimensionality where it introduces readers to Persian culture and Iranian history while triggering discussions for a host of topics including women’s rights, political oppression and the ethics of war. The turmoil roiling inside the illustrator as she was growing up was matched equally with the external turbulence of the socio-economic environment of the Islamic Revolution.

Persepolis 1 martyrsIn spite of the somber political environment, the book was hilarious at times. Having drawn the comic in hindsight after moving to France, the book was laced with self-deprecating and critical thoughts about her younger self, her friends and relatives. It was these moments when sharing and airing her family’s dirty laundry in public that lightened the book’s overall mood.

Persepolis 1 funnyAs much as this is the story of Marjane Satrapi, it also represents the stories of many others where the tightening of religious laws struck fear and unsettled the hearts and minds of ordinary people.Even after being away from Iran for many years, Satrapi said in an interview that her affection “will always be with Iran.”

“I always say that if I were a man I might say that Iran is my mother and France is my wife. My mother, whether she’s crazy or not, I would die for her, no matter what she is my mother. She is me and I am her.”

Below are some pictures of the Eid festivities in my country. How do you celebrate Eid in your country? If you have read Persepolis, tell me what you think!

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11 thoughts on “Book review: Persepolis [PICS]

  1. Great book. My daughter loaned it to me and I loved it. I’ve actually considered re-reading it. Thanks for the post.

  2. Thanks for this post about Persepolis, such a great graphic novel! When I read it, growing up in Texas, it really helped me gain a little insight into the cultural and political history of Iran, as well as what daily life was like during the Islamic Revolution. Have you seen the film they made of it a few years ago?? It’s really good too, I’d recommend it. Happy Eid!

  3. I think Persepolis will be my next read, been searching for a new book to read! Always intrigued by other cultures. Eid festivities in my town isn’t as lively as you; from what I’ve seen from the pictures. Hope everyone has a great Eid!

  4. I loved Persepolis! I’m grateful to a grad school professor for assigning it, because I almost never read graphic novels, and I would be sorry to have missed this one. We read it in conversation with White Teeth and Middlesex, which was a through-provoking grouping, as I’m sure you can imagine!

  5. I saw the movie first then read the comic. It was my first introduction to the complexities of Iranian history. Plus, as you pointed out, the story is fantastic! Very well written. 🙂

  6. I absolutely LOVED Persepolis. I’m still waiting to read the next few in the series but was utterly captivated by the first. I think I read it straight through in one afternoon. You’re right, it’s a perfect mix of comedic and gut-wrenching. I just love how honest it was–it felt raw and real but it also read like a beautifully crafted story.

    It really helped me to relate to real people who were living in the area at the time instead of just looking at the history through the broad lens of a history textbook. One of my favorites for sure. I’m so glad you posted about it today!

  7. How ironic that I should be reading this just before sunrise, and on an empty stomach. The irony is that I’m up so early because I was storing a big box of chickens in my freezer for my Muslim neighbors. They left this morning to visit friends who live two hours away, and they took the chickens, which will part of a post-Ramadan feast.

    I’ve had many nice discussions with Rwaha and a few with her brother Abdu. They are among the kindest people I know, and we talk a lot about the culture of Canada compared to her native land of Ethiopia. Thankfully there is plenty to laugh about, even when the topic turns to religion, but more so on the cultural issues of hair . . . she makes me appreciate my baldness!

    This book sounds much like our exchange of stories, so thanks for making my early rise a pleasant one – the book really does look like a delightful read.

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