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Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood Hardcover – April 29, 2003
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Top Customer Reviews
I mean the whole thing. I started it after dinner, and just finished it at the 153rd page. For those of you who've read, or should I say "experienced" this work, that won't come as a surprise. For those of you who haven't, consider it a high-endorsement. I had other plans for my night...
..I also had my doubts about this work. Despite the rave reviews, I've never even read a comic book. That, coupled with the fact that at first glance, it seemed very...well, childish?
Oh the shame! Marjane Satrapi has created an apologetic convert out of me.
Persepolis is the story of one girls experience during the fall of the Shah of Iran, the ensuing Islamic Revolution (which included Stalin like "purges"), and war with Iraq. Only it's not told in plain text, but rather is a pictured in a comic book style.
A history buff myself, I have an above-average awareness of the historical goings on of that period. However, told in this unorthodox style, with pictures, through the creative and emotional eyes of a child, the "facts" gained a vibrance and color for me like never before. The human side of history had so much more meaning, and seemed to imprint a deeper and easier understanding in my mind than most accounts.
When I was thinking about what was so compelling about this book, I thought of Edward Tufte. He's a famous professor and scientist in the field of displaying information graphically. I went to a seminar by him once. He passionately explained the concept of neural bandwidth, and how most text and plain graphs don't take advantage of the massive processing power of our minds. The pictures in Persepolis, coupled with Marjane's rich historical account seemed to take advantage of that latent neural ability.Read more ›
But PERSEPOLIS is also the story or a whole generation of young Iranians, who left their land in the quest of better conditions during the post-revolutionary era. I belong to this generation myself and I totally identified with the experiences Ms SATRAPI went through- her childhood in post revolutionary Iran, her description of Iranian society at the time, her exile in Austria- also in the volumes 2 & 3 (which already appeared in French).
Though conceived as a comic book, the book has messages which are not childish in nature: the child, through the naiveness of her views, points out to many of the contradictions of Iranian society that adults are unwilling to face.
It is also one of the rare unbiased personal accounts of what happened in Iran at the time of ther evolution and as such, is an interesting document on this period of Iranian history.
(It certainly contains more information on Iran and its people than the junk broadcasted on most TV channels).
Some readers (including reviews posted here) criticize this book for not being a realistic description of Iran. Though I totally disagree with this criticism, the main point is that PERSEPOLIS is NOT a history book nor a sociological study. It is a story, the story of a childhood and the author has never claimed it to be otherwise.
I definitely recommend this book, first to all Iranians who live abroad, especially those who did not grow up in Iran and did not
experience the revolution, and then to all readers interested in getting a human, insider view of what Iranian society was like in the early 1980s.
This is an exceptional childhood memoir, that ranks with Angela's Ashes for its depth and authenticity. This one will be around forever.
The story opens at Satrapi's birth under the Shah's regime, and follows her life through Iran's revolution, conversion to an Islamic regime, and war with Iraq. A precocious single child of progressive activist parents, she is a witness to the complications and contradictions of Iranian daily life, both private and public. She recalls the first day the girls are forced to wear the veil at school. Through a child's innocent eyes, she describes her fears of the imprisonment, torture, and execution of friends, family, and neighbors, as well as of the bombings, oppression, and harassment that have become part of the fabric of her life. In spite of the turmoil, the author is a typical adolescent who takes risks by obtaining forbidden rock star posters, attending parties, wearing jewelry and jeans, and arguing politics with her teachers. Above all else, she is a spunky and lovable child who looks for freedom wherever she can obtain it and manages to triumph over her restrictive surroundings.
The illustrations provide a simple but powerful depiction of the events in the author's life. Many of the drawings have a dream-like quality that accentuates the emotional impact of the joys, sadness, violence, and familial love that Satrapi experiences. This touching story reminds me of Hosseini's "The Kite Runner." I recommend both as excellent coming-of-age stories in tumultuous foreign settings.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
(NOT SAYING THE BOOK IS BAD, THIS JUST ISN'T THE TYPE OF THING I'M INTO) I can see why people may like this book and how this is a story that should be told, but it wasn't for me. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Nashaly Rodriguez
I had to read this book for my literature class and throughly enjoyed it. It was a great book about uncovering one's identity and rebelling out of social norms. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Great anchor for teaching high school students about the '79 Iranian Revolution and the Iran/Iraq War. It's a very real perspective through the eyes of a child.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
This is a graphic-memoir of a teenaged girl growing up in Iran during the tumultous revolution. She explains Iranian culture and how it changed during the war and the precautions... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Nancy A