The Best Moments In Reading Are When You Come Across Something- A Thought, A Feeling, A Way At Looking At Things- Which You Had Thought Special And Particular To You. And Now, Here It Is, Set Down By Someone Else, A Person You Have Never Met, Someone Who Is Even Long Dead. And It Is As If A Hand Has Come Out, And Taken Yours.

Alan Bennett

The History Boys

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Persepolis (Book 1 and 2)

Title: Persepolis (The Complete Persepolis)
Author: Marjane Satrapi
Publisher: Pantheon
Publication Date: October 30th, 2007
Genre: Non-fiction/Memoir/Young Adult
Length: 341 pages

The intelligent and outspoken child of radical Marxists, and the great-granddaughter of Iran’s last emperor, Satrapi bears witness to childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. Persepolis points an unforgettable portrait of daily in Iran and the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. This is a beautiful and intimate story full of tragedy and humor- raw, honest, and incredibly illuminating.

I already wrote about this book and how much I loved it in my 2016 Summer Book Haul, so I’ll just basically quote myself and put that in here as I though it explained the synopsis of the novel well.

“For anyone who does not know Persepolis, just please find it on Amazon and read the first six pages. Like right now and return to this post when you’re ready for the amazingness that is Marjane Satrapi’s work. Her work is similar to Malala Yousefzai’s in means of speaking up for what she believes is right with the exception of instead of a book, being a graphic novel. It’s so honest and raw discussing themes like parents, education, identity, drugs, first love, growing up, and doing what you love no matter what. It’s sounds so close to home yet it was written by a woman who grew up during the Muslim revolution in Iran, under circumstances so different from my own. If anything it shows how much teens feel alike no matter the culture or circumstances they grew up in it’s this very book. And while I know many people have this weird bias against graphic novels “because they’re like comics” I can’t imagine this book in any other format but with beautiful minimalist black and white images drawn by Satrapi herself depicting her childhood in Iran and Vienna.”

+I’ve just discovered the amazing thing that is a graphic novel, and so far, reading about five ones considered popular by the general public, I have to say: “Yes, these are very much like comics.” And Yes I know you might be thinking “Is that actually everything you want to say about them??!” and “Are you saying that graphic novels aren’t “real” books.” Well here’s the thing: many people hate on graphic novels because “They aren’t actual books.” and “They are just text with pictures, but mostly pictures.” But really a graphic novel is just a medium through which an author gives us information and I can’t imagine Persepolis any other way. 

+I’ve actually read the first book a long time ago as the series is made up of two books, however since I wanted to order the second and there was an opportunity to buy a book including both books at the same price as one, I jumped at the opportunity. I feel like I can say that overall both books were about the same regarding the quality of the story and writing, and there weren’t any significant changes from one book to the other regarding the style the author wrote in. However, I do feel that the first book was meant to be a little more fast paces with twists and turns happening every chapter (or at least the way it was written as it’s an autobiography), while the second book is more fluent and you just can’t stop reading due to how soothing it is to just read on. Truth be told this is one of those books which you can’t wait to continue reading when you have the time, and can just spend hours in this time vortex, not knowing how long you’ve been reading.

+Actually occasionally I do this thing where I don’t necessarily even have to be bored with a book, but I’m just obsessed with how much progress I made. For example I’ll constantly flip to the end to see how many pages there are in all, then subtract it by the number of the page I’m currently on to see how many more pages until the end. Truth be told, I tend to do that a lot. Most books really. It is however helpful to help me measure how much I enjoy the book at certain times and the book overall. If I don’t do this often or not at all, I know I’m reading a really good book. I can say I don’t really remember doing this a single time for the duration of the entire book.

+Marjane herself is a very likable character and maybe the reason why I loves this book was because she was so well developed and it just really made me feel like I was talking with a good friend instead of of reading.

+Reading Persepolis was incredible because for example there was this time when she said that she wanted to be a communist because communists were all equal. And I, having grown up in a country in which there was communism (after WW2) which meant that of course I had my bias and my opinion about it, and here is someone saying they want to be a communist... I was really puzzled at this because I grew up being told communism was not at all that equal for everyone, and here is a girl who I think is really nice and seems kind, wanting to be something I was disgusted by. Yet I realized I still liked her, I still liked the character. It made me do a lot of thinking, and I realized how different people’s perspectives can be about things which you don’t necessarily have to like, but understand what they mean, for example I can see why Marjane thought communism would be a good thing, as she believed it would bring equality to a country which needed it.

-The only thing I did not like was the size of the lettering. I know it isn’t very important and it’s not like it changes the story or characters, but still. It being a graphic novel just kind of makes me realize things I usually would’t even though they are in a regular book as well, for example the size of the lettering and the font. This brings me to the last point  which is about the illustrations.

+If you haven’t seen Marjane Satrapi’s work before (because you’re incredibly stubborn and didn’t check it out when I told you to) her work is all black and white and incredibly illuminating (that’s what the blurb said) yet it can go from light and fun to outright depressing and sometimes poetic as when she describes war in Iran (have you ever heard anyone say that a graphic novel is poetic? Because if no, you should stop reading and order that ish right now.

I recommend Persepolis to anyone and everyone, actually it should be mandatory for EVERYONE.

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