Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Persepolis & Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi

I have repeatedly read positive reviews for Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis and I have repeatedly checked the two books out from the library to read them.  Unfortunately, many times the due date sped towards me and I did not have the opportunity to dive into this unique memoir . . . until recently!

Persepolis:  The Story of a Childhood is Satrapi's memoir of growing up in Tehran in the mid-1970's until the late 1980's.  She paints her life literally on the pages in graphic novel form and opened my eyes to an evolution of a country that I have only seen portrayed through American media during a much different time.  Through Satrapi's eyes, we see the lives of the Iranian people before and after the veil.  We see the people on the streets and behind closed doors, both with and without the veil.  We vicariously live through a child's eyes as we innocently witness revolts and tragedies . . . but, as an adult with children, the fear slowly begins to creep into the heart and for me, I realized just how brave the entire Satrapi family was in the decisions they made.

In Persepolis 2:  The Story of a Return, Satrapi shares her story from the late 1980's and into the 1990's; in other words, the tumultuous teen years.  During the years when a child begins to become who they will be as an adult, the author finds herself on her own in unfamiliar territory with no one to turn to or look up to.  She is left to find herself alone.  And, she finally discovers who she is through unimaginatively difficult ways and by eventually returning to her home in Tehran.

Satrapi shares her story with us and it becomes much more than just a graphic novel or memoir.  It becomes a personalized history.  It gives the reader a true peek into a country and its people, both the good and the not-so-good.  It is the prime example of a book that can open our eyes to the world by a simple turn of a page.

All I can say is WOW!

Were you wow'd by Satrapi's work?  What other books have that "wow" factor for you?

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