By Marjane Satrapi,

Book cover of Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

Book description

Wise, often funny, sometimes heart-breaking, Persepolis tells the story of Marjane Satrapi's life in Tehran from the ages of six to fourteen, growing up during the Iranian Revolution.

The intelligent and outspoken child of radical Marxists, and the great-grandaughter of Iran's last emperor, Satrapi bears witness to a childhood uniquely…

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Why read it?

5 authors picked Persepolis as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Persepolis is the book that made me fall in love with graphic memoirs.

I’ve typically been more of a word person than a picture person, but Satrapi’s stark black-and-white images make such creative use of the space on the page that I was converted. I learned so much about the history of Iranian conflict from this book—through the young girl eyes of its narrator—but my favorite part is the way Satrapi visually depicts her conversations with God.

After I read this book, I started drawing images of my conversations with God into my own prayer journal.  

This is a brilliant graphic memoir that depicts the Islamic Revolution and its aftermath through the eyes of a precocious young girl. It’s heart-wrenching, hilarious at times, and a keen examination of life under a religious dictatorship: absurd, hellish, dangerous. You’ll fall in love with this wise girl and enjoy her story so much, you won’t realize how much you’ve learned about Iran, war, democracy, totalitarianism, and the courage it takes to survive. This memoir is often compared to Art Spiegelman’s MAUS.  

From Susanne's list on strong Iranian women.

One of the key questions that I have heard from the academics analyzing the documentary format in comics is the question about the subject who draws their experience in comics in order to make the reader feel a vivid experience through ink and paper. Persepolis does this, while telling you the story of a woman, the author. While telling us a story about injustice, oppression from a graphic witness. The travels, the friends lost, the tense environment between Europe and Iran. All these elements make Persepolis a masterpiece.

In Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, a woman of my generation, depicts her childhood up to her early adult years in Iran and Austria during and after the Islamic Revolution in Iran. She, like me, was shaped by the horrors and struggles after the Islamic Revolution. It’s a graphic memoir told in a gripping and vivid voice. 

This wise and witty, tragic, and often politically oriented autobiography begins in Iran in 1980 after the Shah has been overthrown and a hardcore Islamic regime has taken its place. Using a black and white comic book format, Satrapi first introduces herself as a veiled, disgruntled 10-year-old schoolgirl upset by the new government’s strict Islamic rules. Have some fun as you follow her through her own coming-of-age stories via a great sense of humor. In the mix, she will pull you in and tell you more about history than most other media can ever portray.

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