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Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

(Persepolis #1-2)

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  189,457 ratings  ·  10,711 reviews
In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emper ...more
Paperback, 153 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by Pantheon (first published April 29th 2003)
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Rachelle Tyrrell As an experienced teacher of 12-17 year olds, I can definitively say "It depends!" Because it does depend on the teen, and on the circumstances in whi…moreAs an experienced teacher of 12-17 year olds, I can definitively say "It depends!" Because it does depend on the teen, and on the circumstances in which they are reading it. There are some pretty deep and dark (albeit very important) themes, including detailed descriptions and illustrated depictions of non-fictional violence and torture.
For some younger teens, this might be disturbing, depending on what they have already been exposed to in their culture and environment. For others, who have already learned about certain of the harsher realities experienced by those in different cultures and societies to their own, it may be easily digestible.
With parent or teacher guidance on hand to facilitate important conversations on some of the more mature themes and topics raised in this memoir, a mature young teenager could both benefit from and enjoy reading this coming-of-age memoir. As always, books can provide a valuable source of dialogue between kids and their parents. I only wish more parents would take a genuine and enthusiastic interest in what their kids were reading. (less)
Kevin Wright While the original French series was published in 4 volumes, the Pantheon English translation is only 2 volumes. Pantheon combined volumes 1 & 2 in bo…moreWhile the original French series was published in 4 volumes, the Pantheon English translation is only 2 volumes. Pantheon combined volumes 1 & 2 in book 1 and volumes 3 & 4 in book 2. Now the whole thing is available as a single volume, called The Complete Persepolis.(less)

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Mario the lone bookwolf
An epic tale of sociocultural evolutions, silent revolutions, and never losing hope and trust in progressive, new solutions although backlashes and setbacks are omnipresent and daunting.

Each country has its big, subtle, and socially critical work that is right in the face of the shoals, bigotry, and cognitive dissonances of an established form of government and this is one of the best ones from the lands of One Thousand and One Nights. As always in these cases, the authors´ risk everything by u
Oct 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I knew a little about Iran. Not much, but a little. I knew it had been through a lot of changes, and that most of those changes had been steps backward when it came to personal freedom.
Here's a cool little 1 minute video that gives you a visual look at some of the changes in style, if you're interested.

Alright. What I didn't know was the hows and whys. And to be honest, it never occurred to me to delve much deeper.
There was a revolution, some religious nutters took over, and then everyone start
Jun 13, 2016 rated it really liked it

Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. It was an eye-opening, heartbreaking and thought provoking book— I had many thoughts and feelings while reading, so much so that I had to put it down multiple times to take a breather.

I was in a haze for a very long time after finishing it— and I kept questioning everything in my surroundings.

Here are some instances that made me put down the book and think for a while (they contain *spoilers*):


Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi's autobiography in graphic novel form. The first volume covers her childhood in Iran during the Islamic Revolution until she left to study high-school in Austria in order to get away from the war. What can I say, it was original, sometime funny, sometimes heartbreaking. One thing is certain, it won't leave you indifferent. Recommended. ...more
Elyse Walters
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The little red book cover to “Persepolis”, has been sketched in my mind for clearly as a mental visual of the ‘Jack-in-the-box’ logo. ( I don’t eat there - but it’s pretty hard to not have an immediate visual memory of what their basic logo looks like).
I’ve no excuse for not reading this sooner. I don’t even have a resistance to worthy graphic memoirs. So - no excuse here! I never saw the film either.

I don’t think I need to share specifics about Marjane Satrapi’s autobiography in it
Jul 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
They are among the rare books that I give a 5 which means:
a. they will come with me wherever I go
b. I will read them again and again until I remember every single sentence
c. I will not lend them to people :p.

Tita introduced me to these books. I have been very interested on Iran and was even contemplating to read the autobiography of Farah Pahlavi, the Empress of Iran. After repeated visits to the bookshop to flip the pages of this autobiography, I wasn't sure if I wanted to part with my money fo
Mohammed Arabey
A story about a very sweet lovable rebellious young girl from Iran..

No,'s a story of a free family under tyrant rule..
A story of once great country,Kingdom that retreat 1000 years back.

Marjane has dreams..
Dreams of Good life, Good deed, equality, prospect, freedom.
Then came the revolution which call for all that. To down the coup tyrant government.
But alas, the revolution got its own coup, named after a way-better-than-this-religion..even more tyrant..
Why - for me, as Egyptian- all th
4.5 stars

I went into Persepolis with all the ignorance of an European girl born in the '90s. With all the ignorance of someone who sees war and conflict from afar, who is been used to being safe her whole life - because war just doesn't happen around here. Because we may send our soldiers to fight, but it's always somewhere else.

Things are changing. I don't feel that safe anymore. And in a time of fear and escalating paranoia, when people all around me murmur and whisper that they're all terror
Jun 22, 2022 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this.

Marjane Satrapi and I are the same age. But while I was playing baseball and going to the library and enjoying an otherwise uneventful life in suburban America in the 70s and early 80s, Marjane was – doing a lot of the same kid stuff in Tehran.

There was also a social and political revolution in Iran that caused cultural upheavals and made her childhood a sad, dangerous time.

But it’s the normality of her childhood memoirs juxtaposed with the political revolution that made th
"Persepolis" is a widely acclaimed memoir/graphic novel, it was rated highly by several of my fellow readers and therefore I've had my eye on it for a while. Sadly, now, after reading this book, I am a little underwhelmed by it.

As a graphic novel, it is a notable work. The cartoonish style of the drawing is superb, the subject matter is very current, the combination of tragedy and humor is clever.

However, as a political memoir, "Persepolis" lacks. I don't know exactly why, but I never got a gri
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

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Of all the banned books I’ve read over the years, THIS one might be the one that I really can’t figure out a reason for banning. There have been some selections that my children aren’t quite old enough to read or fully understand, but they are still tiny humans. In a couple of years I’ll gladly let them peruse my bookshelves and read whatever all of the nutters tell them not to. It was thinking of those nutters that left me shaking
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very bleak black & white tale of life in wartime Iran. Marjane's illustrations are dreary reminders that what you experienced in childhood will shape you forever--her story is one that is too damn real to possibly ignore. An extraordinary feat in the shape of lovable 2-D comics. ...more
Pramod Nair
Jun 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
“In life you'll meet a lot of jerks. If they hurt you, tell yourself that it's because they're stupid. That will help keep you from reacting to their cruelty. Because there is nothing worse than bitterness and vengeance... Always keep your dignity and be true to yourself.” – Advice to Marjane’s from her grandmother.

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood’, the first volume, is the intimate memoir of a spirited young girl who had to grow up in the chaos of a society under a stiffly ruled regime whi
Paul Bryant
Well, having read the book, I went also to see the film last night. But I will probably not wish to go to see the musical or buy the soundtrack of the musical with specially commissioned songs by Sting and Bono and Madonna and Cher and several other rock stars who only have one name, all their other names having been given to their favourite charities to auction off.
I didn't read Persepolis Book Two so was interested that the film incorporates both books. However my joy turned to large bananas
Rachel Reads Ravenously
4 stars!
So in an effort to diversify my reading (aka read something other than romance for once) I joined the Goodreads group Our Shared Shelf, a feminist book club run by Emma Watson. With the recent political climate in the US, I wanted a way to expand my mind and find other readers to relate to. I highly recommend this group, and while I am more of a lurker than a discusser, it’s a lot of fun and great to be surrounded by intelligent, like-minded people.

Persepolis is a book this group read
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“In life you’ll meet a lot of jerks. If they hurt you, tell yourself that it’s because they’re stupid. That will help keep you from reacting to their cruelty. Because there is nothing worse than bitterness and vengeance… Always keep your dignity and be true to yourself.”

What lovely words of wisdom told to a free spirited vivacious young Iranian woman, Marjane Satrapi, spoken to her by her Grandmother. Witnessing the triumph of the Islamic revolution and the overturning of the Shah, this free
Dec 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
I intentionally avoided the movie version of this book. I wanted my reading experience to be unspoiled, even by trailers. Now, having read the book, I shall have to go see the movie.

I am the same age as Marjane Satrapi. As I reflect the events of this book, I remember my perception of events in Iran: the revolution, the hostage crisis, the war with Iraq. Having lived in Italy from 1977-79, I feel a little closer to these events than I would have, had I been "buried" in American concerns at the t
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

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Americans, as a whole, don't really know anything about the Middle East. According to this article, a Roper study conducted during the Iraq War (2006) found that 75% of students could not find Iran on a map (the link they provided was a dead link). I knew a bit about the Islamic Revolution, because I read INSIDE THE KINGDOM: MY LIFE IN SAUDI ARABIA by Carmen Bin Ladin, who was half-Persian and grew up in Iran at this time, but still, the
May 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: okay


Two points that should be made.

1. This book will make you sad.

2. That's okay.

Persepolis is the first book in a graphic novel series about the childhood of Marjane Satrapi, the author of this book.

In this book, Satrapi reminisces her life in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution and the Iran–Iraq War - a time of oppression and dejection. Of course, with the Islamic Revolution came the arrival of the high and m
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
I thought this book was very sad, I felt sorry how Marjane had to grow up.

I'm going to link this to a friends review that can tell it better :)

Anne's Review
Ahmad Sharabiani
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (Persepolis, #1), Marjane Satrapi
Marjane Satrapi (born 22 November 1969) is an Iranian-born French graphic novelist, cartoonist, illustrator, film director, and children's book author.

Persepolis is a graphic autobiography by Marjane Satrapi that depicts her childhood up to her early adult years in Iran during and after the Islamic Revolution. Persepolis reminds readers of the “precarity of survival” in political and social situations. The title Persepolis is
Personal interpretation:

Good God!
What have I just read?
Is it a political panorama which's covering a certain era of IRAN?
Is it a noir-graphic book?
Is it an autobiographical memories of the author?
Is it a memoir?
Is it a book on assuring the goodness in human souls?
Is it a message of freedom, rebellion, dignity and patriotism?
Is it a chronology of a country IRAN in the eyes of this little rebellious and hopeful girl?
Well, it's all of that!
It really has defeated me to the ground!


Some scenes that
Book Riot Community
I always feel a little silly and, well, superfluous adding my voice to years of praise for a well-loved work like Persepolis but in this case I can hardly help it. I absolutely adored this insightful, enchanting book. In Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi tells the story of her girlhood and adolescence in revolutionary Iran in a way that is immediately accessible and recognizable, even if you grew up in a totally different decade and on a different continent. There’s a warmth and frankness to her way o ...more
This is a good book. Satrapi writes with a powerful voice. One can easily imagine her childhood and early life. Many times I do not enjoy graphic novels because I think they are weak and poorly-written, relying on pictures to tell a story and not utilizing good dialogue and text. That is not the case here. Satrapi's unique illustrations make the Iran of her youth come to life. Many difficult and painful issues are dealt with in this book: torture, death, martyrdom, etc. Instead of cheapening the ...more
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
One can forgive but one should never forget.

Graphic novel that details the author's experiences during the Iranian Revolution. Quite an emotional read!
I am as middle class (we call it affectionately, the "poor rich" where I live.) I am intellectual. I am like Richard Rodriquez and bellhooks because education took me away from my roots, but gave me who I am today.

So, how could Iranian middle class intellectuals and professionals in the late 1970s have been so different than me and my family? For the young, under the Shah, there was a strong and progressive, very Western group of middle class Iranians. Just like me and mine.

So, how could these p
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
A unique and enlightening coming-of-age graphic memoir set in Iran, and weighted with high-contrast illustrations that transport us to another time and place.


Marjane Satrapi is the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperor‘s, and her parents are committed Marxist’s. PERSEPOLIS is her childhood memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Black-and-white comic strip images tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen and allow us to learn
Brian Griffith
Oct 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mother-persia, lit
Satrapi was a recklessly rebellious teenager after Iran's revolutionary courts killed her beloved uncle. Her parents feared for her safety, and arranged for her to attend high school in Austria starting in 1983. There, according to her later graphic novellas, she had trouble with landlords and ended up staying on friends’ sofas. Finally, she was living out in the streets, got pneumonia, and had to go home to recover. After taking a master’s degree in visual communication in Iran, she turned her ...more
Elsa Rajan Pradhananga
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-east
Marjane Satrapi’s is a powerful memoir and has proficiently projected the pain, dangers, hardships and atrocities Iranians experienced since the Islamic revolution. Many crimes against children were depicted in the book and it left me overwhelmed.

During the Iran Iraq war of the 1980s, young boys were given gold painted plastic keys at school and were convinced that if they died at war, the key would open them the door to paradise where pleasures awaited them. These kids, assured of a better afte
Valliya Rennell
2 stars

This graphic memoire follows the author as she grows up with the turn of the Iranian Revolution and the start of the Iraq-Iran war. Overall, I enjoyed this story enough, but believe in total it is "meh". I thought the images were striking and the way they tied to the text on the screen helped evoke more emotion and meaning. The aspect I enjoyed most in this book was the way it is narrated through the point of view of young Marjane. As she begins to understand things, so do you, and someti
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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

Other books in the series

Persepolis (4 books)
  • Persepolis, Volume 1
  • Persepolis, Volume 2
  • Persepolis, Volume 3
  • Persepolis, Volume 4

Articles featuring this book

Did you set an extremely ambitious Reading Challenge goal back in January? And has this, uh, unprecedented year gotten completely in the way of...
129 likes · 37 comments
“In life you'll meet a lot of jerks. If they hurt you, tell yourself that it's because they're stupid. That will help keep you from reacting to their cruelty. Because there is nothing worse than bitterness and vengeance... Always keep your dignity and be true to yourself.” 841 likes
“One can forgive but one should never forget.” 314 likes
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