Radhika's Reviews > Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
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's review
Feb 07, 2008

really liked it
Read in February, 2008

I like graphic novels. However, when I opened this b&w book and saw four little girls all in veil, I wondered how I was going to remember or distinguish all the characters, let alone follow the story. Well, it wasn't hard given that the tale followed one of them mostly. The illustration has a stronger character and feel to it than most graphic novels- almost unpretty. And the subject matter- a nation's metamorphosis as seen through the eyes of a growing child- makes one appreciate what an extra-ordinary achievement this book is.

The story is not pretty either. Satrapi comes from a privileged background and her candor about her own and her culture's failing are refreshing. For instance, she shows how servants are treated differently in Iran even in families like hers. She shows herself as the careless, materialistic child we all are at some point. Indeed, her plain talk lends credence to the rest of the unfolding tale of constriction, repression and mounting fear. It reveals a lot about the evolution of the theocratic Iran.

Satrapi's narrative makes me imagine how much more horrific life must have been for those born to a poorer family and for those who remained behind. This is her great strength. Even though she is presenting a story from her past, it builds us a context to understand the here and now.

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