Monday, February 01, 2010

REVIEW: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

I've never read a graphic novel before. I'm not sure what to call it actually, is 'graphic memoir' the correct term? Either way, Persepolis was amazing. I'm not sure if it would have been possible for me to put this book done before I'd finished. And I did whip right through it.

It's the story of Marjane Satrapi from the ages of 8-14, as she grows up in Tehran during the Islamic revolution and the war with Iraq before being sent to Vienna for her own safety. Marjane's parents are Marxist and they and many close friends and family members are involved in the revolution, so Marjane witnesses and is aware of a lot of the injustices. Satrapi family is quite a liberal one, so the changes in their life under a new fundamentalist regime is difficult. The Iranian revolution isn't a subject that I was very familiar with before reading this book, but Persepolis put a very human face on some of the suffering. It's told very simply by a cute little girl who is struggling to find out who she is and what she believes in a time of upheaval. Though a difficult subject matter, the entire story is told with a bit of humour.

Because I've never read a graphic novel before, I did find myself sometimes only reading the text and missing out on the illustrations but I soon got used to that. I found the illustrations to be quite simplistic but very effective. The use of black-and-white seemed to be the right fit for the story. I really cannot wait to read the second installment of Marjane's story and the film also sounds amazing. This was a wonderful first book to read to introduce me into the genre of graphic novels!

Other opinions:

(with interview with author)
CulturePulp (interview)
Eye on Everything
She Is Too Fond of Books
The Bookling
Bart's Bookshelf
S. Krishna's Books
Rebecca Reads
things mean a lot

Read for: 100+ reading challenge, Support Your Local Library, Women Unbound reading challenge

What's your favourite graphic novel? I'm new to this scene and need some suggestions of where to go next!


  1. I only started reading graphic novels last year and I'm really enjoying them. I found Persepolis a bit dry, but still worthwhile. My favourite is Fun Home by Alison Bechdel - I highly recommend it!

  2. So far, my venture into graphic novels has been slow, but I think out of the ones I read I loved this one the most.

  3. Glad you enjoyed it! There are so many fantastic graphic novels out there, it's hard to choose what ones to recommmend! Craig Thompson's memoir Blankets is beautifully written and even more beautifully drawn. Bill Willingham's Fable series is a lot of fun - it's about all the characters from fairy tales living in New York after they have been kicked out of their homelands. Neil Gaiman is an amazing and prolific writer of comics; his Sandman series is massive and takes a little while to find its voice. Some of Gaiman's individual books are great - Mr. Punch and Murder Mysteries are two of my favorites.

    Hope you find some of those to your liking. :)

  4. You picked a GREAT introduction to graphic novels. I started with Art Spiegelman's Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus, and I fell in love with it. I followed up with Persepolis I and II, and it's been love ever since. My favorite series is the crazy fairy tale retelling, Fables, by Bill Willingham. I would also highly recommend American Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang. It's beautifully drawn and told, and it won a Printz Award a few years ago. Good stuff!

  5. Persepolis is great! I've really enjoyed Maus and The Fables series. Check 'em out!


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