Book Group, Books

Book 209: Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi

Satrapi, Marjane - PersepolisI flew through this book and will need to read it again to savor more of the story. When I say I flew, I mean I read it in just over an hour. I read every bit of it and even glorified in the illustration a few times, but I’m moving on to Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return.

I’ve wanted to see the film adaptation for a long time, but I never got around to seeing it. I’ve seen previews for it on many of the other films I’ve watched but I never took the initiative to seek out the film. So when our books into movies book group started to discuss a graphic novel I put this one out there and we selected it! I’m very glad I did and I’m still super excited about seeing the film. I believe the film encompasses both volumes of the story, but I won’t know until I watch it. I’m reading both volumes as if you remember I picked them up for helping out at the local library book sale.

Now was a great time to read this book, the only other time I could think of for me to have read it would have been around its release in the early 2000s, but I think now is a perfect time. I say this because the book deals with the Islamic revolution and the deposing of the Shah and there are many people posting pre-revolution and post-revolution photos of Iranian women on social media to, I assume, highlight the loss of rights and freedom.

As this is the first book I’ve ever read about Iran and the revolution I know I need to take it with a grain of salt, but I must say the uniqueness of Satrapi’s work comes from her writing it as her 10-year-old self. Although the reader experiences the revolution through the adults conversations, it is always with the lens of Satrapi’s young self. She does this in such away that even though there are many dark subjects touched up on in the book that the reader doesn’t become disheartened for Satrapi, her family or the country (even though we know the outcome).

The stark black and white illustrations were the only hesitation I had going into the book, but it wasn’t noticeable at all. The few graphic novels I’ve read have been full color and intensely bright and I thought the lack of color might detract from the story, but I was wrong. If anything the stark black and white serves to reinforce Satrapi’s wit and humor and to highlight the stark realities of what the country faced. It almost made it easier to read without the multitudinous noise of full color graphics.

Recommendation: Anyone can and should read this. I’m not sure if it’s a controversial book, but I know it is a well written and beautifully illustrated graphic novel. I enjoyed the wit and the wonder Satrapi brought to the genre and am looking forward to reading volume two.

Opening Line: “This is me when I was 10 years old. This was in 1980.”

Closing Line:“It would have been better to just go.” (Not whited out as this is a work of nonfiction.)


13 thoughts on “Book 209: Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi”

    1. It is! And it’s actually a good introduction to the genre as there isn’t too much dialogue and the pictures aren’t too complex. I felt the black and white style really helped with that.


  1. This looks like a great read for my Around the World Challenge since it’s set in Iran. My boys love graphic novels and I used to enjoy them though haven’t picked one up in awhile. Thanks for the recommendation. I didn’t realize it was a movie as well.


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