The Complete Persepolis
Here, in one volume: Marjane Satrapi's best-selling, internationally acclaimed graphic memoir.Persepolis is the story of Satrapi's unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming--both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up.Edgy, searingly observant, and candid, often heartbreaking but threaded throughout with raw humor and hard-earned wisdom--Persepolis is a stunning work from one of the most highly regarded, singularly talented graphic artists at work today.

The Complete Persepolis Details

TitleThe Complete Persepolis
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 30th, 2007
PublisherPantheon Books
ISBN-139780375714832
Rating
GenreSequential Art, Graphic Novels, Comics, Nonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Biography

The Complete Persepolis Review

  • Patrick
    January 1, 1970
    I sat down to read a little of this during lunch, and ended up sitting in the restaurant for an hour after I was done eating. Eventually I felt guilty and left, but my plans were shot for the afternoon, as all I could think about was finishing this book. I wish there were some mechanism on Goodreads to occasionally give a book more than five stars. Something to indicate when you think a book is more than merely excellent. Like for every 100 books you review, you earn the right to give one six-st I sat down to read a little of this during lunch, and ended up sitting in the restaurant for an hour after I was done eating. Eventually I felt guilty and left, but my plans were shot for the afternoon, as all I could think about was finishing this book. I wish there were some mechanism on Goodreads to occasionally give a book more than five stars. Something to indicate when you think a book is more than merely excellent. Like for every 100 books you review, you earn the right to give one six-star review. If such a mechanism were in place, I'd use my six-star review on this graphic novel. It was lovely and clear. It had a strong emotional impact, without being sugary or uncomfortable. It was eye-opening without being preachy or didactic. I read the whole thing in less than three hours, and I can honestly say I am better for the experience.
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  • Alejandro
    January 1, 1970
    A masterpiece of graphic novels This edition as the name indicates, collects the complete run of “Persepolis”.Creative Team:Creator, Writer & Illustrator: Marjane Satrapi REVOLUTIONARY WORK I remember the days when we traveled around Europe, it was enough to carry an Iranian passport. They rolled out the red carpet. We were rich before. Now as soon as they learn our nationality, they go through everything, as though we were all terrorists. They treat us as though we have the plague. Persep A masterpiece of graphic novels This edition as the name indicates, collects the complete run of “Persepolis”.Creative Team:Creator, Writer & Illustrator: Marjane Satrapi REVOLUTIONARY WORK I remember the days when we traveled around Europe, it was enough to carry an Iranian passport. They rolled out the red carpet. We were rich before. Now as soon as they learn our nationality, they go through everything, as though we were all terrorists. They treat us as though we have the plague. Persepolis is the masterpiece by Marjane Satrapi, a pseudo-biographical work, illustrating her life since 10 years old (1980) until 24 years old (1994), where she experienced her coming-to-life, in her native Iran, during the Islamic Revolution and the war with Iraq, along with four years in Europe, and her return to Iran again.In this graphic novel you will witness many of the convoluted events happening during the decade of the 80s in the Middle East, from the point of view of a brave girl that was living at the heart of the incidents.Marjane is able to present each topic that she wants to expose in titled parts where you learn about relevant facts of Iranian’s society, its past, its present and its future.However, what makes unique Persepolis is the brilliant approach by Marjane Satrapi of those events, since while she is fearless to show the brutal side, she is also honest in showing her failures and doubts during growing up, and even she goes to the funny side of life.Since it’s impossible for any human being to live in constant stressed status, people need to breath, to liberate the weight of their risky existence in many different ways.People needs to smile, not matter where they live. They need to live.And Marjane knows that.Therefore, she masterfully is able to tell her lifestory, full of political episodes and social chapters, but always adding humoristic elements with taste and without ridiculing the seriousness and gravity of the situations.Anybody can tell a tragedy but……a dramedy requires talent, tact and wit.Brace yourself and meet Persepolis.
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  • Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘
    January 1, 1970
    ~Full review ~ 4.5 starsThings I didn't know before : The Complete Persepolis was originally written in French. Way to feel dumb as shit in the (French) bookstore, I assure you. Things I know now : Marjane Satrapi, as a French-Iranian, can't enter the US now. But hey, it's for your "security", all that shit.****** I just learned that French-Iranian had been authorized to go to the US with a Visa.Favorite quote from the whole collection : "As time passed, I grew increasingly aware of the contras ~Full review ~ 4.5 starsThings I didn't know before : The Complete Persepolis was originally written in French. Way to feel dumb as shit in the (French) bookstore, I assure you. Things I know now : Marjane Satrapi, as a French-Iranian, can't enter the US now. But hey, it's for your "security", all that shit.****** I just learned that French-Iranian had been authorized to go to the US with a Visa.Favorite quote from the whole collection : "As time passed, I grew increasingly aware of the contrast between the official representation of my country and people's real lives, what happened behind doors" (approximate translation by me, I don't own the English version to check)... because we're at the core of what makes The Complete Persepolis so interesting and, I'll say it, indispensable. For me, the strength of Marjane Satrapi's graphic-novel relies on the insight it offers the reader : where more classic nonfiction books can easily end up as mere juxtapositions of historical events (which is often boring, okay?), The Complete Persepolis successfully breaks the codes by combining Iran's History with Marjane Satrapi's experience. I, for one, believe that we need this kind of insight just as much as history books, because as I said in my review of Rooftops of Tehran, it's way too easy to dehumanize people we know nothing about, to forget the much real people living in the countries that our leaders target. This is what I mean when I say that there's nothing political anymore in strongly disagreeing with Trump's decisions, especially when it comes to Muslims. At this point, it's not about agreeing on reducing taxes for the rich in order to avoid flight of capital, it's about acknowledging that everything in Western culture participates in feeding our prejudices. Really it's about acknowledging that these prejudices are real and that it's an everyday, conscious work to fight against them. What fighting prejudices does not mean : It doesn't mean agreeing with everything. It doesn't mean, oh my god, erasing western culture** - and that concept, loved and spread by so many of far right voters is so fucking ridiculous given the fact that we have controlled the narrative for so long, it's not even funny. The "great replacement" so dearly loved by FN voters is merely another way for them to express their islamophobia and show their lack of basic education. Forget me with this shit. ** I'm using "western culture" as a generalization here - I don't believe that all western countries share the *same* culture, far from it. What fighting prejudices means : it means accepting that different experiences are just as much valid. It means educating yourself, reading about and from people from different cultures. It means rejecting any attempt of categorizing cultures as being good or evil as a whole. It means a lot of listening and maybe less talking. Trust me, I very much include myself when I say that we have to educate ourselves. The truth is, I have a shit tons of biases. I'm desperately secular, hopelessly Cartesian and very much on the Left spectrum. I've beneficed from my white privilege my whole life. I'm a straight, abled woman from Europe. I will never understand religion - I am interested in religions, but it's not the same thing and it never will. As far as I'm concerned, though, people can believe what they want as long as they don't try to convince me that I should believe and live my life according to thus beliefs. And just to be clear, right now the intolerant people who are being vocals about condemning abortion or LGBTQIA rights in my country are very much Christians. Nobody asks you to change what you are, but to accept that others aren't the same.Am I going to screw up and fail to notice hurtful contents in the books I read? Probably, unfortunately. Yet I think that in the end, what baffles me and makes me so sad and so angry is the fact that so many people genuinely do not want to listen, learn and do better. Everything starts with education, and I'm not saying this because I'm a teacher. Nobody should ever forget that "[we] know one thing; that [we] know nothing".For more of my reviews, please visit:
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  • Manny
    January 1, 1970
    Visiting Spain for a conference earlier this month, I impulsively decided to do something about my almost non-existent Spanish. I began by reading the Spanish edition of Le petit prince, which got me started nicely. Now I wanted to try something harder. I had in fact read Persepolis in French not long after it came out, but I remembered very little of it; this would be a proper test of whether I had actually learned anything. I was pleased to find that I could read it! I'm still having to guess Visiting Spain for a conference earlier this month, I impulsively decided to do something about my almost non-existent Spanish. I began by reading the Spanish edition of Le petit prince, which got me started nicely. Now I wanted to try something harder. I had in fact read Persepolis in French not long after it came out, but I remembered very little of it; this would be a proper test of whether I had actually learned anything. I was pleased to find that I could read it! I'm still having to guess a lot of words, and every now and then I found a sentence that made no sense at all, but I could follow the story without difficulties. The thing which surprised me most was that I found I liked the book better in Spanish than I had in French. After a while, I figured out why: my very uncertain language skills forced me to look carefully at all the pictures, and I realized that I hadn't properly appreciated them first time round. I'd read the book pretty much in one sitting, which didn't do it justice. This time, I gave the graphical aspects the attention they deserved.But dammit, forget the Spanish and the artwork: it's still the story that wins. Her horror and indignation over the dreadful Iranian republic are so powerfully expressed. There's one episode in particular that I can't get out of my head. She's been characteristically loudmouthed at school. The teachers call her parents, and they tell her very seriously that she must be more careful. Does she know what had happened to the teenage daughter of the man they knew who made false passports?Marji looks at them.Well, say her parents, they arrested her. And they sentenced her to death. But, according to Iranian law, one may not put a virgin to death. So she was forcibly married to one of the revolutionary guards, and he deflowered her. And then they could shoot her. But, again according to Iranian law, the groom must give the bride a dowry, and if she is dead he must give it to her parents. So the next day, a representative of the revolutionary guard called on them. And he gave them fifty tumanes - about five dollars. That was the price for her virginity and her life.I'm sorry, says Marji, stunned. I didn't know.The truly terrifying thing is that the tone, throughout most of the book, is one of amused irony. As she says in another very powerful passage, when she meets a friend who's been horribly mutilated after serving in the war with Iraq, you can only complain up to a certain point, when the pain is still bearable. After that it makes no sense any more. All you can do is laugh.
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  • Lucy Langford
    January 1, 1970
    4.5*****I wanted to be Justice, Love and the Wrath of God all in one.An incredibly funny, insightful and moving story told through the form of a graphic novel. This book serves as a memoir of the author, Marjane Satrapi. It is about a brave, young woman in 1980's Iran.This book highlights the struggles that the Iranian people have had to go through. The changes in their culture, the forming of an Islamic Revolution and its aftermath; Persepolis is the story of Satrapi's childhood. It documents t 4.5*****I wanted to be Justice, Love and the Wrath of God all in one.An incredibly funny, insightful and moving story told through the form of a graphic novel. This book serves as a memoir of the author, Marjane Satrapi. It is about a brave, young woman in 1980's Iran.This book highlights the struggles that the Iranian people have had to go through. The changes in their culture, the forming of an Islamic Revolution and its aftermath; Persepolis is the story of Satrapi's childhood. It documents the rise in the Islamic Revolution and those that dissented from these views, the punishments they received. Through Marji's mind and eyes we see the rise of the Islamic Revolution and how this effects both the public and private life of her family. We get to see her rebel in her own ways- fighting for freedom and modernisation, her day-dreaming, her everyday life and struggles, through family turbulence's and her own identity through religion and it's governed customs. Through this book we are taught the histories of both her parents and Grandmothers views of previous era's and how this has changed or impacted from the current one. Marjane Satrapi also paints a vivid picture of what it is like to be a woman in Iran during this time of political and cultural shift.And so to protect the women from all the potential rapists, they decreed that wearing the veil was obligatory.At the committee, they didn't have to inform my parents. They could detain me for hours, or for days. I could be whipped.Marjane Satrapi describes very intimate and frightening accounts of those who do not fit in with the ideals or those who go against it. This often ends up in horror and terror with tragic ends. She also describes how through this political transition, mindsets are influenced and swayed to meet with those in power. For example, universities are closed and schools are taught that the Islamic Revolution is the right way.To die a martyr is to inject blood into the names of society.Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return documents Satrapi's attendance to schools in Vienna, the rebelling, boys, modernisation and homelessness. It also focuses on her return to Iran. Here the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution is still occurring; with streets re-named after martyr's, exceptionally strict rules placed on women's clothing, the rules governing who she walks with down the street.I felt as though I were walking through a cemetery.This book offered a real sense of what it is like as a woman, and what is like for a family in the intense period of time of the Islamic Revolution. I must admit that I had very little knowledge of the history of Iran and it was exciting to develop this, despite the often haunting consequences this revolution had. The book invokes sympathy and empathy for Iranian people and those that suffer. The simplistic drawings in black and white made this story relatable and you could achieve a real perception and awareness of this political and global change. The drawings added to the complexity of the story, however, they were also often very funny too!This was my first time reading a graphic novel and I was a bit weary of attempting this- but this is just such an amazing book I'll happily approach more in the future.
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  • Coffee&Quasars
    January 1, 1970
    4.3 stars.This is an exceptionally charming, funny and real account of the Iranian revolution and its aftermath, through the eyes of a young woman who lived through much of it. I laughed, I cried, I learned things.
  • Marpapad
    January 1, 1970
    Persepolis is a truly amazing graphic novel....
  • Rowena
    January 1, 1970
    This was brilliant: a graphic novel depicting the coming-of-age of a young Iranian girl living in Iran during the Islamic Revolution, who is eventually sent to live in Austria for 4 years for her safety. It shows the horrors of living in a war-torn nation, as well as how terrifying it must be to live in a country run by religious fundamentalists/fanatics. The Muslim leaders recruited 14 year old boys in the war effort, closed down schools, targeted intelligent people and women wearing jeans and This was brilliant: a graphic novel depicting the coming-of-age of a young Iranian girl living in Iran during the Islamic Revolution, who is eventually sent to live in Austria for 4 years for her safety. It shows the horrors of living in a war-torn nation, as well as how terrifying it must be to live in a country run by religious fundamentalists/fanatics. The Muslim leaders recruited 14 year old boys in the war effort, closed down schools, targeted intelligent people and women wearing jeans and nail polish...As a woman, the sexist views of the Islamists made me angry. One panel shows an Islamist on television saying "Women's hair emanates rays that excite men. That's why women should cover their hair." If that isn't the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard :/This was a very raw and candid portrayal of life. Satrapi didn't really try to sugarcoat anything. I liked the precocious child, Marji, who was trying to understand the world that was going on around her and wasn't scared of questioning the hypocrisies she witnessed. And her self-realization as she tried to determine her identity in Austria and when she went back to Iran and was perceived as an outsider and a worldly woman also held my attention.It made me think of people,especially children, living in other war-torn places such as Syria, what must they be going through everyday? What must they be witnessing? Torture, death etc? How can someone get over that? Definitely a must-read for everyone.Disclaimer: This book isn't anti-Islam, it's anti-fundamentalist. Satrapi mentioned how fundamentalists in every religion are dangerous, and I wholeheartedly agree.
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  • Emily May
    January 1, 1970
    I keep promising to write a full review for this but never get around to it. Basically, I read Persepolis for my Gendered Communities course and I think it's one of those rare reads that actually gets better when you study it for the historical, cultural and political context. There are depressingly few Middle Eastern women whose books are read on a large scale so the insight which Persepolis offers into this part of Iran's history is very important. It offers a perspective we don't get to see t I keep promising to write a full review for this but never get around to it. Basically, I read Persepolis for my Gendered Communities course and I think it's one of those rare reads that actually gets better when you study it for the historical, cultural and political context. There are depressingly few Middle Eastern women whose books are read on a large scale so the insight which Persepolis offers into this part of Iran's history is very important. It offers a perspective we don't get to see too often.
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  • Casey
    January 1, 1970
    Ugh. I am deeply ambivalent. First, I found the political side fascinating. If you're interested in Iran's history, the graphic novel format is really accessible. However, I really disliked Marjane. I feel a little guilty about this, as she's a real person. While she and her family were proud that she was outspoken, I found her rude and obnoxious. They believed she was raised to be "free." I certainly appreciate their hugely liberal views in such a repressive environment, but their version of "f Ugh. I am deeply ambivalent. First, I found the political side fascinating. If you're interested in Iran's history, the graphic novel format is really accessible. However, I really disliked Marjane. I feel a little guilty about this, as she's a real person. While she and her family were proud that she was outspoken, I found her rude and obnoxious. They believed she was raised to be "free." I certainly appreciate their hugely liberal views in such a repressive environment, but their version of "free" felt more like "offensive" and "disrespectful" and "tactless." There are so many instances in this book where Marjane faces conflict, and instead of sticking up for herself in a decent manner, she resorts to calling people prostitutes or bitches or whatever. I never thought I'd be one to criticize profanity or being up-front, but I found that they made Marjane very unsavory.
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  • Nandakishore Varma
    January 1, 1970
    Books such as this and The Complete Maus remind us how powerful the medium of "comics" is. It is not all Walt Disney and Tom and Jerry, folks.
  • Aubrey
    January 1, 1970
    4.5/5My first memories of Iraq and Iran consist of mixing the names up, having nothing more than the vague knowledge from television talkers that someone was fighting someone and we, the United States, were fighting everyone. Persia was where my best friend in first grade was from, a place she once told me didn't exist anymore before she changed schools in third grade and we completely lost contact with each other. The intervening years between then and now filled up with reports of war and terr 4.5/5My first memories of Iraq and Iran consist of mixing the names up, having nothing more than the vague knowledge from television talkers that someone was fighting someone and we, the United States, were fighting everyone. Persia was where my best friend in first grade was from, a place she once told me didn't exist anymore before she changed schools in third grade and we completely lost contact with each other. The intervening years between then and now filled up with reports of war and terrorism and an overwhelming fear mongering, leaving me with the feeling I was being force fed bullshit at such an insidious level that I couldn't even trust myself to seek out the least poisoned method of discovering the other side of the story. Since upgrading the status of literature in my life from hobby to livelihood, I've had more time to get down to the bottom of Introduction to Iran 101 - Autodidact Style entry on the neverending Lit bucket list, and I have to say, I can't imagine a better way than this book.Graphic novel, really, but with Watchmen on the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list and The Complete Maus regularly touted as a modern classic, the faster the academic niches of capital L Literature come to terms with the more than capable qualities of the Graphic Novel in terms of Meaning and Importance and yadda yadda yadda, the better. Three hundred years ago it was the novel in Europe, two millenia ago it was the writing things down in general in Greece,, and really, if you can find a memoir that is erudite as it is hilarious as it is heartbreaking as it is politically conscious in a social justice manner as it is life affirming as it is of a country that has for decades been horrendously misconstrued six ways to Sunday by the United States as this one, please, let me know. Member of the Guardians of the Revolution (MGR): Madam, why were you running?Marjane: I'm very late! I was running to catch my bus.MGR: Yes..but...when you run, your behind makes movements that are...how do you say...obscene!Marjane: WELL THEN DON'T LOOK AT MY ASS!I yelled so loudly that they didn't even arrest me. One of the first popular conceptions that comes to my mind when I think on Iran is how bad the women in that country have it. Now, the Wikipedia page for Rape culture states: According to Michael Parenti, rape culture manifests through the acceptance of rapes as an everyday occurrence, and even a male prerogative. It can be exacerbated by police apathy in handling rape cases, as well as victim blaming, reluctance by the authorities to go against patriarchial cultural norms, as well as fears of stigmatization from rape victims and their families. That description is the United States, complete with dress codes, lack of sexual education regarding consent, incidents such as Steubenville and statistics such as 1 in 5 women in universities have been raped at some point during their enrollment. This commentary has nothing to do xenophobia of the civilized countries of the so called West, or with Iran consisting of all kinds of people worn down by death and fear and love of their homeland and culture being controlled by Persian fundamentalists, or the CIA's involvement in taking down countries so as to slake the US's lust for oil, or the fundamental differences between Iran and Iraq and Kuwait and all those other countries media crews love to lump together and poke at, but it does have to do with my basis for relating with Marjane and her growth from child to adult. In comparison to the big picture of her story, it's not much, but it is enough to get me off my commonly accepted high horse of US superiority and start listening. Marjane: 'I don't want to leave the country right away.'Reza: 'It's because you are still nostalgic. You'll see, a year from now people will disgust you. Always interfering in things that don't concern them.'Marjane: 'Maybe so, but in the West you can collapse in the street and no one will give you a hand.' It's a crying shame that it took me this long to read a work that wonderfully cuts to the heart of that vague sensationalism that is the US's treatment of the Middle East. It's an even greater shame that this sort of work is a rare breed in the field of public perception. However, while it may have taken me the length of my own path from childhood to adulthood to experience a good introduction to the reality of things, a start in the right direction is a start.
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  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    One of the things I loved about this book was Marjane's very individual voice and how it transformed from the start of the book when she is 10 to the end, when she is 22. Ten-year-old Marjane, by the way, is about the most awesome kid I have encountered in print. She reminded me of Harper Lee's Scout, except Marjane was cuter and more hilarious. Also, more political.Most readers are unlikely to be really conversant in 20th Iranian political history and it is absolutely fascinating to be introduc One of the things I loved about this book was Marjane's very individual voice and how it transformed from the start of the book when she is 10 to the end, when she is 22. Ten-year-old Marjane, by the way, is about the most awesome kid I have encountered in print. She reminded me of Harper Lee's Scout, except Marjane was cuter and more hilarious. Also, more political.Most readers are unlikely to be really conversant in 20th Iranian political history and it is absolutely fascinating to be introduced to the topic through the eyes of an impressionable child, an emotional teenager and a jaded young adult. Marjane tells her story in an intense, honest, funny and heartbreaking fashion.The style of art is beautiful and everything is drawn in a kind of a kooky way. I though that the style reinforced that this whole story comes from one young person's distinct point of view. As in all graphic novels, the images are just as potent, if not more, than the plot itself and this is no exception."Persepolis" is the best book I can think of to introduce the uninitiated to the world of graphic novels. The subject matter is the polar opposite of the superhero comic stereotype and the intense, skillful storytelling will captivate even the mots doubting reader.I adored it.
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  • F
    January 1, 1970
    loved this
  • Matthew
    January 1, 1970
    Graphic novel was the perfect medium for this story. I am not saying I would not have enjoyed it if it had been prose, but Satrapi's words and images together drew me in right away and I flew through the story. This is another important story from a region with lots of important stories to tell. The theme is that we are all people even though we are often defined by our government, media, religion, etc. We cannot truly know who someone is without meeting them in person. It is also interesting to Graphic novel was the perfect medium for this story. I am not saying I would not have enjoyed it if it had been prose, but Satrapi's words and images together drew me in right away and I flew through the story. This is another important story from a region with lots of important stories to tell. The theme is that we are all people even though we are often defined by our government, media, religion, etc. We cannot truly know who someone is without meeting them in person. It is also interesting to see that people who we think are completely different may have more in common with us than we think. While this may not be your typical super hero, monster fighting, graphic novel - I think a wide variety of people will enjoy the story. And, you will definitely learn something new!
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  • Piya
    January 1, 1970
    "Nothing's worse than saying goodbye. It's a little like dying." My very first graphic memoir and wow… what a read ! Clever, funny and very informative .:). Marjane gives us a glimpse into the day to day life of someone living in an extremely oppressive regime, but she does it with so much humour and satire. I have so much love for her Grandma.I wish she had written a memoir too. "I have always thought that if women's hair posed so many problems, God would certainly have made us bald." Full RTC "Nothing's worse than saying goodbye. It's a little like dying." My very first graphic memoir and wow… what a read ! Clever, funny and very informative .:). Marjane gives us a glimpse into the day to day life of someone living in an extremely oppressive regime, but she does it with so much humour and satire. I have so much love for her Grandma.I wish she had written a memoir too. "I have always thought that if women's hair posed so many problems, God would certainly have made us bald." Full RTC :)
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  • April (Aprilius Maximus)
    January 1, 1970
    I learnt so much reading this!Around the Year in 52 Books Challenge Notes:- 41. A book about a major world event (The Islamic Revolution)
  • Helen
    January 1, 1970
    Persepolis is the memoir of Marjane Satrapi, who grew up in Iran during and after the years of the Iranian Revolution in an affluent middle class family. Given the setting you would expect this graphic novel to cover some seriously heavy subject matter, which it does, but it’s also surprisingly humorous and sprinkled with many light-hearted moments. For a book that deals with such dark themes and refers to so many character deaths, there is a surprising amount of joy to be had from it. I enjoyed Persepolis is the memoir of Marjane Satrapi, who grew up in Iran during and after the years of the Iranian Revolution in an affluent middle class family. Given the setting you would expect this graphic novel to cover some seriously heavy subject matter, which it does, but it’s also surprisingly humorous and sprinkled with many light-hearted moments. For a book that deals with such dark themes and refers to so many character deaths, there is a surprising amount of joy to be had from it. I enjoyed the first part the most, as we read about the events surrounding this tumultuous time in global history from the perspective of a very young Marjane. Little Marjane is pretty much the cutest kid ever, and I love the way adult Marjane pokes fun at her child self, with her naivety, constant attention seeking and unshakeable belief that she knows best. This is the first graphic novel I’ve ever read, and now that I’ve finished I’m wondering why on Earth it took me so long to discover how awesome these are. The artwork in Persepolis is very simple with its black and white format, but the way the characters are drawn conveyed the emotion of the scene just as clearly as any page of prose. I initially assumed that reading a novel in this format would mean I missed out on a lot of the detail or ultimately felt less attached to the characters because we only get snippets of their conversations, but that wasn’t the case at all. I loved all the characters, especially Marjan’s parents and grandmother who were so supportive and inspiring, making their eventual separation all the more heart-breaking. This book was moving without resorting to overused tropes or emotional manipulation, and proves that you don't need reams of flowery prose to create honest and relateable characters.I knew very little about Iran before reading this book, and now I know a little bit more. When hearing about countries with limited freedom of speech on the news it's tempting to picture the whole population as one homogeneous mass and miss the fact that this population must have as diverse a range of opinions and attitudes as any other, the only difference being that many other countries are better able to express these range of views. It seems obvious but this book really brought it home for me by depicting such an interesting range of characters who, whilst outwardly conforming to the regime, were participating in small acts of rebellion, from hosting parties to drinking alcohol to listening to banned music. I know this will be one of those books that I keep returning to again and again and I can’t wait to lend this to everyone I know so that I can spread the joy that is Marjane Satrapi's writing. Also, this interview between Marjane Satrapi and Emma Watson might be one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever read.
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  • Adrianne Mathiowetz
    January 1, 1970
    A question I heard a lot while I was reading this book was "how does it compare with Maus?" -- and if I were to answer that question, I would say, I suppose, that I thought that Maus was more compelling, with more classically heroic characters, detailed, careful artwork (and-I-mean-come-ON it was about the holocaust, haven't we all agreed that's the official trump card?) -- but I'm not sure that it actually makes much sense to compare this book with Maus. Sure, they're both graphic novels whose A question I heard a lot while I was reading this book was "how does it compare with Maus?" -- and if I were to answer that question, I would say, I suppose, that I thought that Maus was more compelling, with more classically heroic characters, detailed, careful artwork (and-I-mean-come-ON it was about the holocaust, haven't we all agreed that's the official trump card?) -- but I'm not sure that it actually makes much sense to compare this book with Maus. Sure, they're both graphic novels whose subject is generally similar. They're at once historical, tragic, and personal. But other than that, they're just two very different books, written by two very different authors regarding two different conflicts. It would be as if you were reading Red Badge of Courage, and people kept asking "so, how does it compare with War and Peace?"Aaaaaannyway. So! About Persepolis.I went into this novel knowing essentially nothing about the war(s) in Iran, and to my surprise I left this book knowing essentially nothing about the war(s) in Iran. Just when the narrator reaches an age when she could really perceive what is happening in her country and act out against it or submit and meld into it, her parents wisely ship her off to Austria, and once there she specifically avoids watching the news and connecting with political developments back at home. Thus, for a large portion of the story we're led through her various musical tastes, hair styles and relationship developments (can you beliiieeeve that first boyfriend and the croissants?). There are no post scripts, tangents, or musical bridges conveying basic information to the reader, no "meanwhile, back at the ranch, lots of people went to jail for silly things, and also there were deaths or something". The narrator was divorced from these concerns at the time, and so are we the readers.Primarily, this novel is an autobiography: the details of her homeland function mostly to describe the main character, not the country or turmoil therein. Egotistical? It seemed that way, sometimes, but maybe it depends what you expected from the book.That said, Marjane Satrapi's character is a well-developed one: never the perfect angel, not always striving to even just be good, but continually just trying to figure things out and attain the same, elusive happiness everyone else seems to have. She's likable, interesting, self-deprecating and ever-changing, and for what it's worth I found it really difficult to put the book down. (To me, actually, that's worth quite a lot. I weep for a lost childhood in which I could never, ever seem to put a book down: I finished one and then desperately started another, consuming them like cocaine. Why aren't books like cocaine anymore? Maybe I should just give up on literature and try harder drugs. Or more graphical novels by Marjane Satrapi.)Thoroughly enjoyable, with artwork that really grew on me with time, and definitely recommended. Just don't expect to want to start a revolution afterwards.
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  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    January 1, 1970
    There's so much I love about this graphic novel. It's both culturally relevant and impactful. It's both amusing and emotionally real. It's probably the single best book I read in middle school. This is so much more than just a politically relevant story. It's a story of one specific person in 1970s Iran, not of every Iranian woman, and it never tries to be everyone's story. Marjane Satrapi owns up to her mistakes in life, to her darker side. She has flaws and she allows her memoir to explore tho There's so much I love about this graphic novel. It's both culturally relevant and impactful. It's both amusing and emotionally real. It's probably the single best book I read in middle school. This is so much more than just a politically relevant story. It's a story of one specific person in 1970s Iran, not of every Iranian woman, and it never tries to be everyone's story. Marjane Satrapi owns up to her mistakes in life, to her darker side. She has flaws and she allows her memoir to explore those flaws. But she's still an incredibly likable narrator. It's easy to impress upon her character and follow her growth, even when you disagree with her choices and actions. This is definitely a standout among graphic novels and literary fiction. Highly recommended.
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  • Calista
    January 1, 1970
    Powerful and Honest. I didn't know a whole lot about Iranian history before this story. I knew the basics. Marjane's childhood was much different than mine. I have always wondered how people live through such long wars like they had too and it looks terrible.It almost reads like a dystopian novel with the repressive government. That has always felt so terrible to me. It seems against God to force people to conform when we are meant to be a garden of varieties and differences. Freedom is not easy Powerful and Honest. I didn't know a whole lot about Iranian history before this story. I knew the basics. Marjane's childhood was much different than mine. I have always wondered how people live through such long wars like they had too and it looks terrible.It almost reads like a dystopian novel with the repressive government. That has always felt so terrible to me. It seems against God to force people to conform when we are meant to be a garden of varieties and differences. Freedom is not easy when everyone is so different. I am so glad Marjane was able to get out of Iran, even if it has it's wonders, beauty and family. There are obviously some wonderful people there. I guess in some ways it is a mirror of our own country. We have almost half the people who would like to make our country repressive like this. Fundamentalist are more similar than the religions they support are different. I am thankful for what our country allows us to be in life. It is therefore more important than ever to stand up and make sure we keep our liberties and don't throw them away for entertainment or whatever else. We have a rare gift in human history, especially for women. Nothing is perfect. I hope Iran can loosen up and the people there be allowed to be more free. This story affected me. It was a window into a very different like. This life was truly threatening and people died. There were horrors all around and she was still able to be successful and tell her story. This story is over 10 years old and it still has an impact and power to share with the world. This is an excellent work of art. Truth to power.And, I agree with Marjane. They have women cover up because it makes men think unpure thoughts (part of being human), but men can turn women on the same way. Why don't they have to cover up? In college, I had such a huge crush on a guy, that his ankles were enough to turn me on. EQUALITY!E Either both cover up or neither should have to cover up. That is a Western idea I'm sure.
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  • André Oliveira
    January 1, 1970
    I really recommend this book but OMG some of the text was really small for me haha
  • pink pills and paper
    January 1, 1970
    Special and enlightening.It was delightful to learn about Iran and the Islamic Revolution, something so far away from me, through the eyes of a character to whom I could so easily relate.
  • Simra S
    January 1, 1970
    "Life is too short to be lived badly"I finished this book in one sitting. I normally don't write reviews but this book is amazingly good and is worth all the hype. It has a lot of humour, compassion and heartbreaks. I absolutely loved Marjane as the little rebellious girl who spoke her mind, as the girl who lost her way and couldn't hold her dignity, as the girl who came back and proved herself, and also as the writer who has written this book so beautifully. To have lived in such oppression th "Life is too short to be lived badly"I finished this book in one sitting. I normally don't write reviews but this book is amazingly good and is worth all the hype. It has a lot of humour, compassion and heartbreaks. I absolutely loved Marjane as the little rebellious girl who spoke her mind, as the girl who lost her way and couldn't hold her dignity, as the girl who came back and proved herself, and also as the writer who has written this book so beautifully. To have lived in such oppression then living with freedom for four years, then coming back again to such oppression and carrying on just shows how much strong a woman can be. Marjane's family are like icing on the cake in this book. Every character in this book is very well written.It is lighthearted yet intense and as a person who doesn't know a lot about Iran, I confess I got to know a lot about Iran through this book.
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  • new_user
    January 1, 1970
    I think this is will be more response than review. Satrapi's Persepolis fulfills its purpose as a memoir, but I will tell you right from the start, that it is indeed overhyped, particularly if you have read the rave critical reviews. Perhaps, since the field of graphic novels as memoirs is relatively new, a work like this could be called ground-breaking. Persepolis as a memoir is an interesting read. I say this only as a result of having read Part Two of this book, The Story of a Return . If I I think this is will be more response than review. Satrapi's Persepolis fulfills its purpose as a memoir, but I will tell you right from the start, that it is indeed overhyped, particularly if you have read the rave critical reviews. Perhaps, since the field of graphic novels as memoirs is relatively new, a work like this could be called ground-breaking. Persepolis as a memoir is an interesting read. I say this only as a result of having read Part Two of this book, The Story of a Return . If I had read The Story of a Childhood alone, I probably would not have liked this book at all. As a memoir, her account of her childhood is biased politically. I'm speaking of Iranian politics and social affairs -even history- rather than any foreign policy. Satrapi would like to paint herself as an educated, superior specimen of progressive thought, but to be frank, one can embody all of her views in two words: westernism and nationalism. She worships "punk" and calls her family "avant-garde." She considers herself the very spirit of Iranian society, the last bastion of reason in her country, but she goes to a French school and adopts Western, dress and idols. She does not seem very avant-garde to me. She seems to be the typical Eastern child who envies the Western one. I questioned at times whether she could truly be proud of her heritage-- or simply what she thought to be her heritage. I didn't see that adopting European principles or dress was any more or less admirable than adopting Arab ones. Even when she reads, she reads only foreign philosophers. Her patriotism seems a shell. This is precisely why I was skeptical-- because any book praised by a mass of American critics generally affirms American values, American superiority (the rest of the world is backwards) and/or American-approved values. Such a work will generally portray a one-sided view of the culture in question, i.e. the approved view, as this one does. In fact, I'm finding there is a slew of Iranian authors jumping on the bandwagon of vilifying Iran (to an all too receptive audience) and glorifying everything Western. In the introduction, she writes "...this old and great civilization," and I have to wonder which civilization she means since she laments that so much culture has been imposed on Iranians. What is essentially Iranian? Zoroastrianism? She doesn't strike me as Zoroastrian. Satrapi fails to consider the dynamics and nature of culture, to adopt, borrow, and grow. That is progress. Satrapi writes of Iran, it "...has been discussed mostly in connection with fundamentalism, fanaticism, and terrorism. As an Iranian who has lived more than half my life in Iran, I know that this image is far from the truth." In fact, Satrapi does nothing to negate this view. She simply replaces it with a new paradigm, all religious Iranians are fanatics. The rest adopt Western customs; they're civilized. This is not debunking misperceptions, it's only espousing the latest Western policy: non-religious Easterners are acceptable. She does nothing to help her people here. The book speaks only in the briefest way (a line or two) about American relations, so do not be concerned about any bias in that regard.So if we call the first part Politics, the second part -the book is really not complete without it- is more honest. In The Story of a Return, she speaks of her experiences as an immigrant in Europe, and these strike me as less politicized and more genuine. As for her return, we know that Satrapi returned only to say goodbye. She is an expatriate in Paris, living the culture that she so worshiped as a child. That said, as a memoir, this book is pretty interesting and does indeed describe the forces that shaped this woman. The iconic, stylized, almost childlike art cushions the narrative, so that the political content is less threatening. It's cute. And it suits the tone of the book, which is fanciful and ostensibly a protest against a black and white world (though Satrapi is a little rigid herself). It's worth a read if you have some spare time. It was better than I expected after reading the first half, but it won't be on my Best Of list anytime soon.
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  • Warda
    January 1, 1970
    A semi-autobiographical book, this book offered such great insight into the history of Iran, particularly during the 1950s all the way through to the 80s, covering the Islamic revolution, the war with Iraq and the invasion of the West. It's a story about a young girl growing up during that particular time period and it follows her journey throughout. The language is simple, blunt and effective. It highlighted the danger and recklessness when religion (Islam, in this case) is interpreted in ones A semi-autobiographical book, this book offered such great insight into the history of Iran, particularly during the 1950s all the way through to the 80s, covering the Islamic revolution, the war with Iraq and the invasion of the West. It's a story about a young girl growing up during that particular time period and it follows her journey throughout. The language is simple, blunt and effective. It highlighted the danger and recklessness when religion (Islam, in this case) is interpreted in ones own way. When there's no sense of balance (as Islam teaches) and the faith is practised in an ignorant, overzealous manner, driving the person to the point of absolute absurdity. For example, thinking that there's a need of having police that patrol the streets, in order to keep people's behaviours and moral compass in check. Because they have convinced themselves that practising the faith will be better established this way. There's a scene in the book where the protagonist, Marjane, is stopped by those so called policemen, because she was running. She was in a hurry (as if some kind of justification is needed for this) but they asked her to stop running because of the way her backside would move when she would run. There are so many points where this book just makes you genuinely angry!On the flip-side, Satrapi calls out the West for its manipulation of invading Iran and other Middle Eastern countries, media outlets for portraying a single narrative and the danger of it, as it takes away the complexity of a situation, which in turn forces you to dehumanise them of everything, leading to inequality. All for the sake of destruction and power. But this book isn't preachy. I loved the historical aspect to it, however, it covers Marjane's childhood to early teens, growing up in Iran, having to be moved to Austria by her parents, because they want a better life for her, being an outcast in a society, an immigrant, and the identity and psychological issues that it can lead to. Incredibly insightful read!
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  • Parthiban Sekar
    January 1, 1970
    I am afraid that I might not be able to tell anything good or great from my limited knowledge of what-went-wrong or what-kept-her-going. Is it the oil which once was a natural resource? Is it her-smoking-cigarette? Is it her hooded-veil? Is it the never-ending war? Is it her make-up? Is it her defiance?Here it is, I think that it is more appropriate that you hear from someone who knows more:Elham's review of The Complete Persepolis
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  • Ferdy
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars - Spoilers-Brilliant, this was so much more than what I expected. I knew I'd enjoy Persepolis but I had no idea that I'd find a story about a girl (Marji) growing up in Iran at the time of the Islamic Revolution so immersive, gripping, relatable and moving. It was simple yet powerful.-Marji's struggles in Iran were portrayed so well, I believed everything I was reading. One of the main issues I have with fact based or autobiographical novels is that I always feel things are exaggerated 4.5 stars - Spoilers-Brilliant, this was so much more than what I expected. I knew I'd enjoy Persepolis but I had no idea that I'd find a story about a girl (Marji) growing up in Iran at the time of the Islamic Revolution so immersive, gripping, relatable and moving. It was simple yet powerful.-Marji's struggles in Iran were portrayed so well, I believed everything I was reading. One of the main issues I have with fact based or autobiographical novels is that I always feel things are exaggerated, hidden or changed so that the story can seem more glamorous or thought provoking or profound. In Persepolis I never felt that way once, I was swept away in the story, and it felt like I was there watching and experiencing all the good and bad in Marji's life — it was brutal and honest storytelling.-Marji was mostly a horrid character. She was self centered, angry, jealous and self pitying, yet she still made for an engaging and interesting character. I was really put off with her getting an innocent man in trouble (probably getting whipped or beaten) just so she could protect herself. I wouldn't have minded her doing that if 1. It was certain she'd even get in trouble in the first place or 2. If the guy had been guilty for some other crime. It was unforgivable what she did, and it actually made for uncomfortable reading… Especially when she laughed about it and felt no remorse.I have to say that there were parts where I loved Marji, like when she was being rebellious towards unreasonable authority figures. There were a lot of times where her strict teachers or elders would tell her off or threaten her for wearing certain clothes/make up, listening to music, talking to guys, etc. And I loved that Marji stuck up for herself… I cheered when some Guardians of the Revolution told Marji not to run for the bus because the movements were obscene (and would tempt some poor guy into wanting sex), and she basically told them to fuck off, and to not stare at her arse if it turned them on so much.-What I thought was done really well was Marji's depression and loneliness in the years she spent alone in a foreign country. Her parents sent her to school in Vienna so she'd be away from the war between Iraq/Iran, they wanted her to be safe and happy but she ended up being lonely, misunderstood, used and abused. I really felt for her, she had loving parents but because she was on her own, she felt unloved and unimportant.-I was a bit confused about whether Marji was a muslim or not. She drank, dated, had sex and did drugs… She never prayed or read the Koran… Although she did have conversations with God. I just never got the sense that she was a muslim — maybe it was because her parents weren't religious?-I liked the illustrations, they were clear and easy to follow… But they didn't blow me away… That's one of the main reason that I gave this 4.5 stars instead of 5.I was really impressed with Persepolis — especially how it showed the human and forward thinking side of Iran, and also the repressive and fanatical side. I feel that western media doesn't show nearly enough coverage of the majority non-extremist and very much human side of muslim countries — there should be more of it shown, it'd be one way to help relations between everyone.
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  • Maddie
    January 1, 1970
    First full book of the BookTubeAThon! Woo! This was so great, oh my goodness, addicting and educational with so many ups and downs. It was hard to believe that it was Marjane's actual life and not fiction!
  • Tisha
    January 1, 1970
    Okay, I have finally finished this magnificent book and I am really really really glad that I chose this to read. It worth every single second of my time. Marjane Satrapi, the author has presented her childhood to adulthood here as a graphic novel. But it must not be confused with any comic or a mere book with cartoons! This is something powerful, something really powerful. There is a line- “War always takes you by surprise.” Yeah, true. For a girl of twelve, religious rebellions are nothing bu Okay, I have finally finished this magnificent book and I am really really really glad that I chose this to read. It worth every single second of my time. Marjane Satrapi, the author has presented her childhood to adulthood here as a graphic novel. But it must not be confused with any comic or a mere book with cartoons! This is something powerful, something really powerful. There is a line- “War always takes you by surprise.” Yeah, true. For a girl of twelve, religious rebellions are nothing but a surprise, a shock. But Marjane was undoubtedly valiant and so were her parents. When everyone was busy to hide under the veil, her parents taught her to be bold, to be brave.I liked her courageous approach of showing the whole world what she had to experience, without tampering anything. She told about every miserable episode of her life. How pathetic her life became on those war days, how she and her parents endured the pain of losing the dear ones, how she ended up in Austria, how people insulted her because of her appearance, how desperately she wanted to remove the image of an Iranian girl, how she got along with the anarchist, how she wanted to kill herself, everything is written with honesty.I have not only admired her writing but also loved the illustrations. Those are so detailed! Loved everything about this book. A must read for everyone.
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