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Jun—Persepolis (2016) > Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

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message 1: by Katelyn, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Katelyn (katelynrh) | 836 comments Mod
Share your general thoughts about the book in this thread! For more specific discussion happening in the Jun—Persepolis folder!

And feel free to share links to your reviews here on Goodreads (or elsewhere).

message 2: by Luella (new)

Luella | 18 comments I watched the movie years ago so I was happy to read this. I thought it was originally in the language they speak in Iran. When I found out she wrote it in French I wanted to give the French a shot along with the English for reference. I've been enjoying the French one referencing back to the English one as plan. But the French is still a translation anyway isn't it? Lol.

Either way every section seems to end on a profound note. And it's a really interesting story so far. Also found it interesting that the English version has a whole summary about the history of Iran while the French one doesn't. Its not something we'd learn about here so I guess that makes sense.

message 3: by Catherine (new)

Catherine (purplechameleon) | 1 comments I just started a couple days ago! I have never seen the film so I was really excited to start! Also i am so excited that Emma chose a graphic novel! The first thing that strikes me, I am on the Moscow chapter; is the confusion of Marjane towards the issues going on around her and how she is acting out against other children depending on what she has heard. This has really hit home for me as an educator because sometimes the children that I teach say bizarre left corner comments; and none of them live in the type of demographic that she has lived in. (I am Canadian)
I cant wait to finish this through the return!

message 4: by Sascha (new)

Sascha | 391 comments Some random thoughts about "Persepolis":

What I enjoyed most reading the book was Marjane Satrapi's humour. I like this kind of irony. And I guess it needs humour to cope with all these things Marjane is experiencing in her life.

And I also like what I would call Marjane's rebel heart. She is courageous and brave and objects to authorities. She speaks out and objects to injustice and oppression. And for me, it's not a surprise that Marjane identified with Punk as a teenager and had many anarchist friends.

Her family is also defiant and took part in the revolution against the Shah. I think the book shows that this revolution was betrayed in the end because many people participated in the revolution and struggled for democracy and social justice. But they lost their struggle as the Islamists took over and established a brutal dictatorship.

Marjane describes how this change affects her daily life, for example as the Islamists force their dress code on women. But she also describes the way how many women resist against the pressures by the government.

And we can also see how the Islamist regime is destroying people's pleasures. So many things people are doing for fun are restricted and banned by this anti-pleasure regime: music, alcohol, dancing, playing cards. Even talking to a person you are not married with in the streets can be dangerous for a woman.

But Marjane also shows that there is always a way to circumvent the strict rules as she for example goes to the black market to buy music which the regime doesn't want the people to listen to.

And Marjane is a smart and cunning person who can talk herself out of dangerous situations as she for example manages to avoid being taken to prison.

All in all, I learned a lot from the book. You can learn more about daily life under a brutal dictatorship and the defiance of people struggling for freedom. You can also learn more about being a refugee who leaves a country full of bloodshed and war and who tries to start a new life in another country. You can learn about the alienation you may experience as a refugee in a foreign country.

message 5: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (vanase) | 10 comments I read this book back to back with Shirin Ebadi’s memoir, Until We Are Free (which I highly recommend to everyone that has read this book). Marjane’s memoir/biography leaves off a few years before where Shirin Ebadi’s focuses, and it was a little depressing to see that, as bad as things were during Marjane’s early life, they only continued to get worse for women, cultural minorities, and dissenters in Iran.

I enjoyed that Marjane chose to tell her story through a graphic novel, and I think she did that on purpose to convey her experience to a younger demographic outside of the middle east that are not as informed about the events that happened after the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Graphic novels and comics can, at times, tell a story in a much more direct way than a novel can, and the ease of reading a graphic novel can keep people, especially of a younger age, from losing interest in a story. By using this format, Marjane reached a different audience than what a typical memoir/biography would usually reach.

Like everyone else, I learned a lot from this book, as the events in this book happened years before I was born, and are not adequately covered in American history textbooks (if at all). Also, being so close to the age that she was during the latter half of the book, I empathize with a lot of the emotions that she was experiencing, like love, the desire for independence, irritation for being constantly labeled a sexual object for every action you take (the scene where the police officers asked her to stop running because her butt shook in an “obscene” way made me laugh from the absurdity of it), depression from feeling like you let down those you love the most. Granted, I live in a much more progressive country than Iran when it comes to women’s rights, so I can’t even begin to fathom the oppression that she experienced, but hearing this period of time in Iran’s history told from the point of view of a young person was refreshing and much more personal than even Shirin Ebadi’s memoir was.

aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) This looks like a terrific book, unusual though it may be. I am starting it today.

message 7: by Marijna (new)

Marijna Black | 3 comments I loved what I have read so far, I don't think any of the history was taught in school, which is a shame. I think it might help some of those racists out there to sympathize more with the people who have had to live through something like this rather than just hating them on principle. My library only had the first book though, ended at one of the saddest parts, can't wait until I can read the next one!

aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) From what I hear in my senior park of 80-year-old+ white Americans (there are 150 of us who own our own trailers), they are unable to draw fine lines in the conversation about Muslims. They are swayed by and think in broad slogans and sound bites. About half are liberal, half are conservative.

These ordinary folks have principles and prejudices, and practical realpolitic thinking, but it is all mixed together in their thinking. They went through the Depression and WWII, so they know poverty, starvation, primitive conditions, and losing everything. Many have educations to the 8th grade or spotty educations because of the World War II and the Depression. They lived when women were oppressed by Christian beliefs and many welcomed the Feminist Revolution of the 1970's, and many still think the man should lead in relationships and politics. They are American patriots, and they love their country. Many lost brothers, husbands and sons and grandsons in American wars in Vietnam, WWII, and now Afghanistan and Iraq.

They do not want any immigrants to America who are Muslims or Mexicans. They love Trump saying things like he wants to build a wall. But they cry over the drowned babies on the beach, they give money to organizations that help those Muslims and Mexicans in poverty. They blame the parents for their dead and sick kids. They cannot understand any parent who sends children out alone thousands of miles away to emigrate. They blame the Muslim religion, and people who believe in the religion. (The Mexicans are despised because they often do not speak English and take jobs away from real Americans.)

To me, I think many cannot straighten out the issues clearly in their minds and hearts. Most of them went to church regularly when they were young. Those who can separate out the threads, have expressed: they do not want Muslim immigrants who are 'practicing' Muslims. They do not hate Muslims. But they believe all immigrants, especially Mexicans, are taking jobs away from 'real' Americans. 'Real' Americans are people who have regular jobs, and speak English and dress in American clothes. They treat women the EXACT same as men. Most, if they see a woman in a religious head covering, think 'slave of a man, 8 children, uneducated, beaten by husband, immigrant, can't speak English.'

This book would not change their minds because some of the finer issues are not spelled out. Those that are, the mostly broadly drawn out issues, would only cement their thoughts in place. They would see that the Muslim religion is evil. All Muslims look like fundamentalists. If we can't tell the fundamentalists apart from the non-practicing Muslims ( the way the women dress is our only clue) we need to exclude ALL Muslims.

The Satrapi family are not 'practicing' Muslims. That puts them on the spot in so many ways within the Muslim community, but my American elderly neighbors would like them for that. The Satrapis would be welcome here if they did not practice Islam. But my neighbors are unsophisticated. They would be shocked by the 'city' and philosophical sophistication, and dislike them a little, because they are such smart educated people. My neighbors would have doubts if they talked about loving revolution and resistance until they understood better it would not be anti-American and be violent.

The Satrapis love their country and are proud to be Iranians. They hated the Shah and they hate the current government. This part would be difficult for my neighbors. How can they love Iran? Why don't they love America, being so educated, and non-practicing? It is obvious America is a better country. But they wouldn't hate the Satrapis for this, just be puzzled.

Where their prejudices come into play is the kowtowing prayers five times a day, along with the extremely crazy looking and acting of social rites-rules-customs of the practicing Muslims, the tents of the women that pass for clothes, and the lack of good English. Where there fear comes into play is the terrorism of Muslim fundamentalists AND the lack of jobs for American citizens (which they believe one of the causes is illegal immigrants who do not care if the pay and benefits are below legal requirements).

Almost everybody here comes from somewhere else. Accents are not common, but not uncommon either. Americans move a lot - the average is they have bought and sold three houses in their lives and they have lived in three different cities at least. Language and American customs and culture are the only things we judge people by. We are not tribal or strict in the manner of Muslim theocracies. Our tribalism is about consumer shopping culture and speaking English and a relaxed acceptance of the equality of women and no obvious religious beliefs. In my area, there is a parade of naked counter-culture people every year, which is announced so that people can come to watch or stay away (The Fremont District Parade). It is for fun. The police are there to make sure the audience behaves and doesn't hurt the parade participants. Iranian police, especially Religious Police, would be criminals and thugs here.

The problem is most Americans cannot tell the difference between Fundamentalist Muslims and ordinary Muslims. My neighbors in the senior park would solve the problem by rejecting all Muslims, unless they are non-practicing and speak English and the women act and dress like Americans. Otherwise, the person could be a terrorist.

Simple and practical remedies for a society like mine which moves a lot and no one has more than a few friends they've known more than a decade and where families see their various members hardly ever. You can judge people only by clothes, manners and customs and their house - not because you've known people all of their lives, like the Satrapis.

message 9: by Erin (new)

Erin Hanratty (i_believe_in_my_shelf) | 3 comments What has resonated with me the most while reading Persepolis are the parallels between 1979/1980 Iran and present day United States and the United Kingdom. Many people have compared the atmosphere during this election season to 1930s Germany. Extreme nationalism and a promise to revive the German economy helped Hitler's rise to power. He used people's fears and promised them that he would protect them. After WWII ended and the extent of the atrocities that occurred under the Third Reich were revealed, many were perplexed as to why ordinary Germans were either supportive or complacent during the Holocaust. Much of it had to do with fear. Ordinary people acted on their fears and not their values. It just goes to show how often history repeats itself across the world.
In Persepolis 1 Satrapi's parents protest the shah, but not are not aligned with the fundamentalist group that replaces him. They believe that their country is too advanced, too cultured, that their neighbors are too sensible and educated to buy into the extremism. They don't take the fundamentalist government seriously because they believe that the Iranian people would never stand for some of the drastic measures the government wishes to impose. In the chapter "The Sheep" Satrapi's mother expresses her fear and suggests that the family move to the United States like many of their friends and family members. Satrapi's father insists that "It's like this with all revolutions. This is just a transitional period." And "Don't worry. Everyone who left will come back. They're just afraid of change." Marjane's uncle Anoosh believes that "the religious leaders don't know how to govern. They will return to their mosques. The proletariat shall rule." And yet the universities close. Women are forced to change their dress and are restricted while in public. Alcohol and parties are banned. The Satrapi's have to put up thick curtains to prevent their "sensible" neighbors from spying on them and reporting them. Anyone speaking out against the fundamentalist leaders are arrested (and sometimes tortured and/or killed). Everything that Satrapi's parents were confidant could not happen eventually comes to pass. And it's because ordinary Iranians were fearful and found strength in fundamentalist Islam and national pride, or they were too afraid of the government to protest.
Brexit is a prime modern day example of fear triumphing over sense. I was shocked when I heard the news that the majority of British citizens (who had voted) had chosen to leave the European Union, and much of the UK was shocked as well. No one thought this would actually come to pass. And yet it has. Because people are afraid. They're afraid of the Other coming into Their country and taking what is Their's. They're confidant that Their country is the best country, better than the rest of Europe and don't want to be dragged down. They think They don't need anyone else. It's extreme national pride, xenophobia, racism, and the fear that some Other is going to swoop down and take everything away. And these are the people who came out to vote and won the majority 52% - 48%.
And we're seeing it the US as well with the rise of Trump. One year ago it was a joke. A reality TV celebrity running for President of the United States? Hilarious. A waste of time. And yet here we are. He is the presumptive candidate for the Republican party. Many long standing Republicans don't even support him! But the people who do are the nationalists, the racists, the xenophobics, and the fearful. Trump and the leaders of the Leave faction in the UK use fear to drum up votes. They say if you don't vote for me, all your worst fears will come to pass, but if you vote my way, I'll protect you. And people believe. They make choices based on their fears and not their good sense. In Persepolis 2 Satrapi words it perfectly: "When we're afraid, we lose all sense of analysis and reflection. Our fear paralyzes us. Besides, fear has always been the driving force behind all dictators' repression."
Not that the leaders of Leave or Trump are dictators, but they use this tactic to manipulate the people. While reading Persepolis I couldn't help but feel fearful for my future and for my country. I used to believe that racism was something that could only be found in history books, but I'm discovering that my fellow Americans are not as progressive or as tolerant as I am. Recently it was reported that a group of self-proclaimed Christians vandalized sacred Mexican ruins because they believed people used it for "devil worship". If Trump becomes president, these are the people who will have the loudest voice. I am fearful that this Wall between the US and Mexico will be a project that does come to fruition. I am fearful that laws will be passed that ban all Muslims from entering the country. I am fearful that minority groups will be persecuted. I can only hope that we are not a country who repeats history and that the sensible majority will stand up for what is right and not let fear get the best of us.

message 10: by Uma (new)

Uma Balaji | 2 comments Part One: Childhood is actually in my school's English curriculum for 10th grade, so that's when I read it initially. For my final essay on the book, I did a feminist analysis because I think the most important reason to include Persepolis in a school curriculum is its consideration of the plight of a feminist at intersections of gender, sexuality, religion, and race. I think one of Satrapi's greatest achievements in the novel is being able to openly discuss the flaws in Islam without contributing in Islamophobia; she's like, "Hey, Islam can be oppressive to women the way it's interpreted today, but Western culture and religions can be just as oppressive to women in different ways." What I, personally, loved most about the novel was her straightforward depiction of the implications of living in two different cultures and not feeling like she fully belonged in either.

aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) Erin wrote: "What has resonated with me the most while reading Persepolis are the parallels between 1979/1980 Iran and present day United States and the United Kingdom. Many people have compared the atmosphere ..."

I completely agree with all of your points.

aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) Uma wrote: "Part One: Childhood is actually in my school's English curriculum for 10th grade, so that's when I read it initially. For my final essay on the book, I did a feminist analysis because I think the m..."

Great comments!

message 13: by Bunny (last edited Jun 30, 2016 05:20PM) (new)

Bunny Great points Uma and Erin! I really liked what Uma said I think one of Satrapi's greatest achievements in the novel is being able to openly discuss the flaws in Islam without contributing in Islamophobia; she's like, "Hey, Islam can be oppressive to women the way it's interpreted today, but Western culture and religions can be just as oppressive to women in different ways." I really agree with that, its been my experience too. Having lived in different countries with different cultures and different majority religions I can really see that there are virtues and flaws in each. For me rather than trying to determine which one is better its more about learning and finding the good parts of each and taking warning from the bad parts.

Which makes Erin's points about how fundamentalism and nationalism take over when people are scared really relevant. It can happen to any of us. The important thing is to find the courage not to give in to the impulses to follow blindly behind someone who makes false promises about how he's going to fix everything. Whether its a mullah or a celebrity or a newspaper reporter turned politician.

I also think its really important not to assume that the way Islam was practiced in Iran during the revolutionary years is the only way it can be. Satrapi talks about this a bit too. There are a lot of ways to practice any religion. There are versions of Christianity in which people are not supposed to drive cars or own TVs or dance. There are versions of Judaism in which women and men are supposed to avoid even shaking hands if they aren't related. But we don't see those as representing the whole religion.

I sometimes wonder if part of the reason that Islam gets talked about so much in terms of its most extreme forms is because westerners just don't know it as well. I think there's a tendency to sort of ...exoticize the unfamiliar? I see that sometimes with what British people think Americans are like, like we all talk with a strong southern accent and don't believe in evolution and eat big bags of junk food at the Sunday book burning. Its that same impulse to see the parts that seem the strangest or most different as representative.

message 14: by Billy (new)

Billy Marino This is my first book for Our Shared Self, and I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from it, but I was excited to read it, and pleasantly surprised to find it's the best thing I can recall reading in quite some time!

Since I'm posting a bit late for this month I'll just highlight my favorite aspects of the book and try to reply to previous posts in a bit and see if anyone's still discussing here!

First, I didn't anticipate the humor, and loved the way it contrasted with some often times dark material. The humor frequently came out in subtle ways, either in a detail in the illustrations or a single line of dialogue. I think that it's one of the most important ways to connect with people, and though it's often forgotten when discussing complex and difficult subjects, it seems key in many scenarios. I'm guilty of not bringing enough of it into my own studies and discussions, and it's books like this that remind of the importance of remembering humor in the darkest of times.

Second, Marjane Satrapi has a talent for making profound statements in simple language, something I haven't enjoyed as much from another writer aside from Kurt Vonnegut. Whether she's talking about the the various philosophic fields she dove into, the various way women(and sometimes men) got around the strict rules of Iran, or the struggle of identity of both from a common perspective of growing up and the unique experience of her childhood. I found myself floored by her insights on many occasions while reading this.

Well, I'm happy to be a part of this book club (my first online one!), and I'm happy to have started with such a fantastic read. I look forward to some discussions in the future!

message 15: by Suzette (new)

Suzette Havenbrook | 4 comments One of my favorite things about reading autobiographies and memoirs is that they show us how much we are all the same, with the same needs and the same desires, no matter what part of the world we live in.

In terms of education, feelings on marriage and children, and the need for rebellion, I could relate to Marji. My soul felt like I was with a kindred spirit during many parts of this book.

Then there were other parts that my heart hurt for her because I could feel her pain, but I didn't have anything to compare it to, because I had never lived through war. When she couldn't dress how she wanted, how she had to worry about being murdered for loving art and music and culture. How she lost so many people she loved, either through war or natural death or just the inability to connect and find common ground.

The more books I read through this club, the more I get to learn about the experiences of other people, and I'm so thankful for the opportunity to learn.

message 16: by Emily (new)

Emily Kirby | 11 comments This is one of my favorite graphic novels of all time as well as one of the books whose movie is just as equally as good. Seriously, go watch the movie once you finish the graphic novel.

I think my favorite thing about the novel is how honest the author is about her life. There are a lot of great moments for her, but she also made some huge mistakes. Instead of sweeping them under the rugs, she admits them, and shows readers how she has tried to learn from them. That takes a lot of guts to admit your mistakes. It also gives the graphic novel a huge power to the heart.

message 17: by Yvette (new)

Yvette | 1 comments I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I do not usually read graphic novels but after this book I might get more into them. Marjane's story is so intriguing I was sad when the book ended I wanted to know more about her life. I enjoyed that she shared her good and her bad side. What i enjoyed most about her story is that even though I could not imagine what she went she was still relatable. Just a girl who wanted be valued and loved like any of us. I did not know much about the Iran war and this book helped teach me about it. I joined this group to learn more about feminism and broadened my world view and this book certainly helped with that. If anyone has any suggestions for more books or documentaries so I could learn about the Iran war I would really appreciate it.

message 18: by Bunny (new)

Bunny Neither of them are about the Iranian war, but I have A Separation, and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night on my lists to watch after several recommendations from friends. They are both by Iranian film makers - A Separation is about a couple trying to decide whether to leave Iran to seek more opportunities for their daughter or to stay to help care for an elderly parent. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a vampire thriller where the vampire is a woman in a chador.

message 19: by Liliana (new)

Liliana Boada (lilyboada) | 2 comments I like so much to read this graphic novel, i have never read an autobiography in this way. Tome ago i've saw the movie and i loved, for that reason a wanted to read this. I don't know so many of iranian culture and with Persepolis i understood many things and knew the life in there, that was so complicaded with racism, prejudice and lot of rules that in many cases have no sense.

Another point was to live in another country, in a totally different culture with other habits, particularities and so different ways of thinking.

However, Marjane had to discover who was she and where she wanted to go and to be.

Persepolis taugh me a lot and now i'm interest to learn more things about the world and concern to another ways of lives.

message 20: by Bunny (new)

Bunny Kodak wrote: "I've heard so many good things about that movie! Plus I'm a sucker for Vampire movies ;)"

Ha ha! Pun intended?

message 21: by Tammy (new)

Tammy Riggs | 8 comments Finished reading Persepolis and enjoyed the book. I felt like I learned a lot about Iran and the culture of that country and people from this graphic novel. It was interesting how strong she was and her parents to their beliefs.

message 22: by Anne (new)

Anne | 1 comments Just joined this group so a little behind...

Absolutely loved this book. This graphic novel is such a funny, emotional and honest account of her life and the lives of her family and I learned so much reading it. It may be one of the rare occasions that I read a book twice as I enjoyed it so much!

message 23: by Paula (new)

Paula | 45 comments I loved this book! I don't really read graphic novels so it was great to try something new. I loved Marjane and the way told her story it was incredible. I was cracking up most of the time and also balling my eyes out. She went through so much! I had no idea how bad it was back then in Iran so I'm glad I finally got to read an account of someone who actually lived and was from Iran, to see it from her perspective. It must've been so hard for her to live like that with little to no freedom in her own country and having to wear her veil a certain way all the time. I can't imagine not being able to wear makeup on the streets or being able to kiss your boyfriend without being arrested. That must've been crazy. It just makes me feel like we are so lucky to have the freedom to do all of that here in America and in other countries as well. I loved all the stories! They were very relatable. I enjoyed it so much! I'm glad that too that Marjane stuck to her beliefs and even when she felt like giving up for good, she kept going and turned her life around. I'm glad she stood up for what she believed in no matter what anyone else thought!

aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) Paula wrote: "I loved this book! I don't really read graphic novels so it was great to try something new. I loved Marjane and the way told her story it was incredible. I was cracking up most of the time and also..."

I totally agree with you!

message 25: by Jo, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Jo (jo_9) | 373 comments Mod
I also loved this book. I am notoriously bad at finishing books, but I finished this one easily as it was so informative and enjoyable.
How Marjane went through so much at such a young age is beyond me, she is so strong and I think a lot of that is down to her parents (who sound awesome), perhaps in particular her father.

message 26: by Karina (new)

Karina Charris (kcharris) I felt completly identified with this book, it was very touching by the shared experiences. Marjane could transmit into a few pages and drawings the experience of going from girl to woman without the protection of a united family, under the context of a culture that is not her own.
This book made me see clearly how these experiences influenced her personality as an adult woman. Unquestionably the influence of her parents (especially her father) marked and shaped her way of perceiving the outside world. I definitely confirmed that the father figure in a woman has an impact on how she sees herself and how she sees others. Of course, I'm not saying that the mother had no influence, but I could see that in great decisions of her life, the father figure was present.
On the other hand, her change of spiritual vision is exactly the process which 99% humanity goes through, due to the frustration of not being able to find answers, prefer to live their lives under their own rules. There is no need to make judgments about this matter.
Wonderfully written, I experienced innocence, frustration, tears and joy in just a few pages, definitely I'll read it again sometime.
Thanks for the recommendation, I was really moved.

And, what do you think about the father figure influence in a woman?

aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) Karina wrote: "I felt completly identified with this book, it was very touching by the shared experiences. Marjane could transmit into a few pages and drawings the experience of going from girl to woman without t..."

I agree with almost all of your statements, as it is similar to what I think about Persepolis, too.

: )

Fathers do seem to have the biggest impact on their families. I grew up in the 1970's, watching and part of the Feminist movement. Over time, even feminists had to admit there is something to it biologically, perhaps, that fathers impact kids more, even the daughters. There have been tests - deeper voices, for example, seem to give most people a sense of someone in charge, strength.

Fathers have impact not only by setting a good example, though; they have a damaging impact if they are vicious and cruel, if they are condescending and play favorites with their kids, or if they are rarely home, or if they leave permanently.

In my opinion, mothers need to work on being strong too. Weak mothers also set a model for their kids - a negative one.

message 28: by Aimee (new)

Aimee | 7 comments Bunny wrote: "Neither of them are about the Iranian war, but I have A Separation, and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night on my lists to watch after several recommendations from friends. They are both by Iranian fi..."
Both of those movies are fantastic :)

message 29: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Butler | 18 comments I finally finished the book last night! This was my first book read for Our Shared Shelf. Here's my Goodreads review:

I was so torn between giving this book 4 or 5 stars. Ultimately, while my heart was pounding throughout the reading experience, toward the end I found the narrative to be incomplete. I felt the ending of the book could have been different, instead of the final note of sorrow that existed. To me, the book did not feel over by the last page.

Otherwise, this book was amazing. I loved how each chapter seemed at once disjointed and united with the rest of the stories, providing a single narrative of growing up with western ideals in an eastern culture. The narrative was raw, showing humanity for what it is - the shallow, the righteous, the uncertain. Marjane presents her past in a relatable way, as a human who makes mistakes that, although we may not agree with her actions, we are allowed to see her reasoning. The comic book format was easy to read, and I loved the monochromatic scheme with simple artistry and complex themes. The book also acted as a short history of Iran. The reader sees Marjane's relationship with family, lovers, friends, and God through the eyes of a Muslim woman who loves freedom and holds that value above all else.

message 30: by Alyson (new)

Alyson Stone (alysonserenastone) | 149 comments I was actually surprised about how much I enjoyed this one!

message 31: by Marina (new)

Marina | 314 comments I'm still stuck tbh..
Which part were we supposed to read? Is only the first part about Iran, the second and third being about her life Vienna?

message 32: by Alana (new)

Alana (alanasbooks) | 66 comments So I just went back and read this to catch up with the group, but I did so after finishing The Handmaid's Tale, which made for a bizarre reading experience. I feel like there are so many parallels: reading THMT it was creepy, because I feel with today's political environment in the U.S. that we could so very easily tip over that brink and head into that dictatorial direction. Reading this, where a very modern progressive nation virtually overnight regressed an untold number of years into some religious oppression that is hard for the western world to fathom, is even creepier, because this story is true, not just an author's projection of a possible future. The extremes to which a despotic group will use a religion in order to gain power is frightening.

I couldn't relate to all of her specific experiences, obviously, but my heart really went out to her when she's in another country being spoken about, and in her own country being spoken about, and not feeling like she fits in anywhere. I think all of us have experienced that in a way at some point.

I think the moment that struck me the most was when her mom talks about back in the way when Iran was respected, and just having an Iranian passport meant other virtually rolled out the red carpet for you....and now they were looked at suspiciously and like they were terrorists. And this is written looking back, to the 80s! I can only imagine how much worse it is for Iranians now, after more wars and other Islamic terrorist attacks that had nothing to do with their country. How disheartening!

message 33: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Osorio | 9 comments Hello there!
I had watched the movie earlier this year but I haven't had the opportunity to read the book. I just finished reading it yesterday and I loved it. I feel identified with Marjane even though we are not from the same culture or the same religion. It is surprising how stories repeat themselves all around the world. The lesson: to educate ourselves, as Marjane would say. I am a venezuelan girl that has lived most of her life under a "socialist bolivarian revolution" that sank our country -an oil producer power - in the misery forcing everyone that wished and worked for a better life to quit the country.
Persepolis is not only a feminist book, it is the story of a culture, a country and its people. There are many things that surprised me in this book:
*The revolution against the Shah, that ended up with the Islamic State empowerment, as Marjane's uncle said in a country where most of the people are illiterate, only religion or nationalism could overcome.
*The changes that this new State conducted:
-The fact that a person that was not prepared or did not studied, could have an important position if he was with the regime.
-The tortures and extermination of everyone that thinks different to the government. This ended up with the silence of families seeking tranquility and peace.
-The fact that women did not have the same rights as for men, based on an extremist ideology - I have muslims friends and I respect their religion and their ideology, but every society progress, and women's right should progress too-
-The fact that elections were controlled by the State.
*Marjane's period in Austria. I think is the most important of her life, there she discovered her true self. I felt identified with her, when she had to live abroad and listen to people saying nasty things from her country. I understand how it is difficult for an immigrant to suceed in a foreing country. Many times I have stood amongst persons that comment about Venezuela, I cannot say that I am proud of the government we have, but I am proud of being venezuelan and sometimes people are wrong about their thoughts of a country that they don't even know.
*The love and support of her family, their openness and their constant fight for freedom. Her grandmother was my favorite character, her wisdom, the wisdom that only a grandmother can have, touched me.

I felt identified with all of these facts, and I would recommend this book to everyone.

message 34: by Arnaud (new)

Arnaud B. | 119 comments I didn't read the book but just watched the animated movie.
It was so heart touching.
My eyes were filled with tears.

message 35: by Harm (new)

Harm ten Napel (hnapel) | 94 comments ACLU highlights Persepolis on Twitter as a banned book.


message 36: by Spencer (new)

Spencer | 26 comments Having read the book and seen the movie, there are some differences between them but the movie allows for more emotion and voice as the book is written comic strip form which doesn’t allow as much voice to be carried to the reader. I, overall, enjoyed the book much more than the movie.

message 37: by Amanda (new)

Amanda | 5 comments I agree with above discussion shares that the book covers a little-discussed time period in my past history classes, although I was blessed w/1 global history teacher who talked about the topic for 1 day. I think the protagonist shows strength, & the story is well-told through her family's & extended family's struggles & triumphs. As the protagonist herself declares, "Always keep your dignity and be true to yourself," in spite of the challenging & turbulent times she lived in.

Thanks to all above discussion posts, I'm grateful for your insightful shares!

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