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Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood & The Story of a Return (Persepolis #1-4)

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  48,985 ratings  ·  3,263 reviews
This text tells the story of Marjane Satrapi's life in Tehran from six to 14, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution & the devastating effects of war with Iraq. Satrapi paints a portrait of daily life in Iran & of the bewildering contradictions between home life & public life.
Paperback, 343 pages
Published March 6th 2008 by Vintage (first published 2000)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Patrick
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
...more
Manny
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 ...more
Aubrey
4.5/5

My 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
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Sara
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
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Rowena
Apr 18, 2014 Rowena rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Rowena by: Kirsty
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 ...more
Elham
I liked Persepolis. Beautiful drawings, hilarious jokes and facts about the fundamentalists and Iran's government and some perhaps good political dialogs and information for someone who hasn't known them already. I laughed and cried several times.

But as she grows up, I didn't find her as a strong author having a very rich plan to distinguish her work from a usual popular story – in fact if we remove the political and other things about Iran, there remain only some beautiful illustrations. I thin
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Adrianne Mathiowetz
Mar 02, 2008 Adrianne Mathiowetz rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Adrianne by: Book club
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 ...more
Casey
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 ...more
Ferdy
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
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Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Originally published in France in four separate volumes, and later in the US in two, The Complete Persepolis brings them all together for the first time. It is the story of the author's youth, growing up in revolutionary Iran before moving to Austria at 14, and then later returning to Iran before escaping again, this time to France, where she still lives.

Her story is both familiar and alien - a story of being a child enjoying her childhood during the revolution of '79, and how it impacted on her
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new_user
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 ...more
Eve
I remember renting a copy of the film adaptation of this graphic novel back in 2005, and really enjoying it. The bonus footage featured an interview with Satrapi, and I remember admiring her fortitude and outspokeness, even as a child.

In all honesty though, the film didn't move me as much as the book did. It spoke volumes, and I came away with an appreciation for Satrapi, her strong and supportive family, and the nostalgic love she has for her country and its people. With so much propaganda that
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Jenny
It's touching, brutal, strange, foreign and very real. I think the most interesting part about this book is that you can feel the one-side-ness of the narration due to the singular perspective.
Teresa
3 and 1/2 stars

I enjoyed this, especially appreciating its outspokenness, but I feel the beginning is much stronger than the later sections. I could have also used some more explanations, particularly with the timeline of her early schooling in Iran.

I liked the illustrations, which fittingly change somewhat as Marjane grows up, but I felt at a remove with some of her later actions. Perhaps there is a bit too much mocking by the adult writer of her younger self; or perhaps it's because I recentl
...more
Rita
Initial thoughts:

1. Loved the historical background to this foreign country.
2. Marjane's life and her love/hate-relationship with the country is almost palpable.
3. Brutal and honest.
4. The parents are such a lovely couple. People I would love to meet up with and just talk about all and everything.
5. The drawings were simple in black and white, yet they were so powerful in its meaning.

Check out my full review on my blog!
Manny

The best graphic novel I have read... not unreasonable to compare with Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, which I am pretty sure influenced it. Also very illuminating about what it's like to live in Iran. Terrific book. The film, which Satrapi also worked on, is just as good.
Rebecca T
I finish this amazing book with two thoughts lingering in my brain.
1. Holy shit that was a wild ride.
2. Marjane and Malala should have coffee some time.

Persepolis is the captivating story of Marjane Satrapi's childhood and young adulthood. It is her transformation from a precocious young girl to a struggling teen, and lastly into a well adjusted, headstrong woman. It is beautiful and completely inspiring.

Not only was the novel entertaining, but it was vastly educational. Not only on Iran's poli
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Crystal Starr Light
Jun 17, 2013 Crystal Starr Light rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Crystal Starr Light by: Ferdy
"Persepolis" is the autobiography of Marjane Satrapi, a young Iranian girl living in Tehran. She was a middle-class only child and had your typical childhood dramas. But she also had to deal with the oppressive Iranian Revolution and Islamic Regime. Eventually her parents sent her away to Europe - and then she had to figure out who she was, a foreigner in a foreign land.

Way back when I lost my job, I found myself going to my library (it was within walking distance) and checking out a lot of movi
...more
Kathryn
I try to refrain from reading the reviews of books I am near finished with or books I have finished but not yet made any final decisions towards, to involve rating or writing a review or commenting in any way. But this book left me feeling something rather iffy. I could not quite place my finger as to why I was not wholly sucked into the story, why I never fully connected with Satrapi. Then I read new_user's review and was suddenly able to smash my finger on what was bothering me. So, instead of ...more
Lucrezia
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bUaqX...

Pochi sono i casi in cui storie ambientate in paesi dell' oriente durante le guerre che li hanno sconvolti nel secolo scorso, e che continuano tutt' ora a infiammarli, sono riuscite a coinvolgermi e ad emozionarmi. Molte volte ne leggo, con interesse sì, anche con un certo dispiacere, ma è lo stesso dispiacere che provi quando ti parlano di una disgrazia accaduta a qualcuno che conoscevi poco o non conoscevi affatto...
Ci sono stati solo due casi in cui le
...more
christa
When “Persepolis” opens, Marjane Satrapi is in grade school in Tehran. To her, the Islamic Revolution means now she has to wear a veil. Her French non-secular school closes and she must attend a gender segregated school. It means that when her mom is photographed by news agencies demonstrating in the streets, her mom must dye her hair and wear sunglasses to avoid recognition and subsequent retribution. While her parents protest, young Marjane rallies her friends and poses as Che Guevara for her ...more
Tom
There are few testaments more accordant with the underdevelopment of our species than the sad and bewildering ubiquity of dogmatism and, in the case of Persepolis, the dogma in question is (ho-hum?) religion. It may be fashionable, though still dangerous, to speak out against one's own misogynistic theocracy these days but such was not the case in the years immediately following Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution. When undaunted women like Marjane Satrapi chose to spit upon their hands and play agai ...more
Lily
"One can forgive but one should never forget." -Marjane Satrapie. For genre de jour I read the outstanding novel Persepolis. Written by Marjane Satrapie, this story depicts the life of Marjane's childhood while she grew up in Iran after the Islamic Revolution. In the story published in 2000, Marjane goes through torture. From being told she must wear a hajib to her uncle being executed, she goes through pain that drives her to stand up, be ambitious, and fight for what she believes in. This book ...more
Jen
I don't know what to call Persepolis. It's a graphic novel, of course, but it's also an autobiography and a history and a social commentary. Marjane Satrapi takes an honest and sometimes severe look at her childhood, teenage years, and early 20s. Her graphics are striking and tell as much of the story as her words. Sometimes I became so engrossed that I had to force myself to step back a bit and remember that I was reading someone's history -- that Satrapi had lived and survived the heartbreakin ...more
John
Aug 22, 2008 John rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: memoir, graphic-novel
I read this after listening to Marjane Satrapi speak in Portland.
http://johnwsmarvin.blogspot.com/2008...
This is one powerful story. Marjane is a very intelligent person and a great storyteller who lived through the Iranian revolution and watched it turn against her and her family. When war with Iraq breaks out her parents send her to she study abroad in Austria where she becomes unhinged, lost in a culture she can't relate to. Back in Iran the war grinds to a halt, as she becomes a mature woma
...more
Bailey
What can I say about Persepolis that hasn't already been said? Above all, it's like nothing else I've ever read or seen. It's thoughtful while still wry, self-aware while still clever, well-paced while still expansive, and most importantly, built upon the understanding that is only born of perspective.

Marjane Satrapi's story is one of a kind (and yet not), and I can understand why it has captured the minds of so many. It's an accessible story of a non-Western perspective that still remains criti
...more
Emily May
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 ...more
Ziba
As a Persian, this brought me back to a past I was too young to experience myself at the time. I loved it. Every comic-square of it.
Paula
3.5 stars. This book had been on my TBR list for years and I guess my expectations were simply so high that disappointment was inevitable. I'm still really glad I read this, it's a good book but it simply didn't deliver the mind-blowing experience I was expecting.
The idea itself, to tell a memoir in the form of a comic book, is great and I loved the black&white artwork. All the stories about Iran and the islamic revolution are really insightful and interesting, the everyday anecdotes often
...more
LeeAnne
Wow!!! Amazing!

Like Art Spiegelman's brilliant ''Maus,'' this is a ''graphic memoir''. Marjane Satrapi describes her life from the age of 9-to-22 years old.

This book is so engrossing. What an incredible life Marjane Satrapi has led. Unbelievable.

Marjane is a descendent of the last Emperor of Iran. Her parents are pseudo-communists. She is only 9-years-old when religious fundamentalists overthrow the Shah of Iran and the Ayatollah Khomeini is named supreme leader.

Under Khomeini's rule, Sharia
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Marjane Satrapi (Persian: مرجان ساتراپی) is an Iranian-born French contemporary graphic novellist, illustrator, animated film director, and children's book author. Apart from her native tongue Persian, she speaks English, Swedish, German, French and Italian.

Satrapi grew up in Tehran in a family which was involved with communist and socialist movements in Iran prior to the Iranian Revolution. She a
...more
More about Marjane Satrapi...

Other Books in the Series

Persepolis (4 books)
  • Persepolis, Volume 1 (Persepolis, #1)
  • Persepolis, Volume 2 (Persepolis, #2)
  • Persepolis, Volume 3 (Persepolis, #3)
  • Persepolis, volume 4 (Persepolis, #4)
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (Persepolis, #1-2) Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return (Persepolis, #3-4) Persepolis, Volume 1 (Persepolis, #1) Embroideries Chicken with Plums

Share This Book

“The regime had understood that one person leaving her house while asking herself:
Are my trousers long enough?'
Is my veil in place?'
Can my make-up be seen?'
Are they going to whip me?'

No longer asks herself:

Where is my freedom of thought?'
Where is my freedom of speech?'
My life, is it livable?'
What's going on in the political prisons?”
118 likes
“It's fear that makes us lose our conscience. It's also what transforms us into cowards.” 114 likes
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