Cyndy Aleo's Reviews > Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return

Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi
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Jan 03, 15

bookshelves: graphic-novel, non-fiction, diverse

After reading Marjane Satrapi's first novel, Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, I was riveted, and felt as if I was left hanging at the end, wanting to know what happened to this girl who would suddenly be on her own in Europe after her parents sent her out of Iran to safety. Persepolis: The Story of a Return continues this story, and the events are almost more difficult than those of the first book.

::: Europe :::

When Satrapi left us at the end of the first book, she had just been sent to Europe by her parents, to get her away from the war in her native Iran. She was to stay with her mother's best friend, but that situation quickly deteriorated, and at 14, Satrapi found herself living in a boarding house run by nuns. She now finds herself alone, with no friends and no family, in a country where she doesn't even speak the language.

Compounding the trouble is the bigotry that she meets up with as someone of Middle Eastern descent. She doesn't feel that she belongs anywhere, has a difficult time making friends at school, ends up being kicked out of the boarding house due to a confrontation with one of the nuns who ran it that included some ethnic slurs, and generally, does what any teen would probably end up doing in the same situation: falling in with the wrong crowd.

Satrapi spirals downward into a life of drugs and depression, finally ending up living on the streets before she falls ill and returns to Iran, where she once again is a displaced person; not quite still feeling like a native, and not quite feeling like a European.

::: Depressing :::

Satrapi's drawings in this graphic autobiography are the same style as in her first volume, but for some reason, they seem all the more depressing this time around. While it's still fascinating to see the perspective of someone who lived through the war there, especially someone who has spent time in the West, there is such a sense of futility and gloom that permeates Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return.

In the first book, Satrapi seemed a beacon of hope in a time and world full of horrors and strife. When she left for Europe, you hoped that she would be safe and have a normal life, but the "normal" she found in Europe was actually anything but. I actually had a difficult time getting through this continuation just because it was so depressing, and the return to Iran seemed more like a defeat than a homecoming.

Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return was still a great read, but sometimes knowing that you are reading the story of a real person weighs much too heavily.

This review originally published at Epinions: http://www.epinions.com/review/Persep...
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