- Fizzy Thoughts: Persepolis


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Marjane Satrapi
341 pages

Dewey had damn good taste in books. This is the second book I've read for the Dewey's Books Challenge, and the fourth book I've read this year that she reviewed on her site (neither An Abundance of Katherines nor The Ha-Ha are on my challenge list), and they've all been fantastic. I've been trying to space out my challenge books, but considering how good these first two have been, I wouldn't be surprised if I rush into the rest fairly soon. Or maybe I'll just do the challenge twice. Is that allowed?

Persepolis was my introduction into the world of graphic novels, and in this particular case it's a "memoir-in-comic-strips," as Powells puts it.

Satrapi was a child during the Iranian Revolution, and the first half of Persepolis (note: I read the Complete Persepolis, which combines the two books) tells the story of her childhood under an increasingly oppressive regime. Although it is told in comic strip format, this is not a light-hearted story. In fact, the story gets increasingly darker as Satrapi moves into her teenage years.

Satrapi is an outspoken little girl, and as she grows older her liberal parents decide to send her to Austria to attend school, both as a way to ensure a more complete education, and to keep her safe. The second part of Persepolis focuses on her years in Austria and her eventual return to the country she loves but has a hard time fitting in to.

At first I was a little unsure of the format. But it only takes a couple of pages to get into the simultaneous reading of the text and looking at the art. The book is illustrated entirely in black and white. In fact, some of the panels are very dark, with either the walls and furniture in black, or in this case, a crowd of veils:

I found the darkness of the panels to be reflective of the darkness of the story. And isn't it amazing how much emotion can be conveyed with a few brushes of a pen?

Persepolis has inspired me to hunt down and finally read Maus, another graphic novel that I've somehow avoided for many years. Thanks to Chris and Robin for hosting this challenge and expanding my reading horizons!

17 comment(s):

Nymeth said...

She really did. I've also loved all my challenge picks so far. I'm so glad you enjoyed Persepolis! Maus is just as good, if not better.

Beth F said...

This has been on my wish list for a long time. I really, really have to read it.

Joanne said...

Glad you enjoyed your first graphic novel. And Nymeth is 100% right Maus is fantastic.

heatherlo said...

I have never read a graphic novel but I just might have to try this one.
And you're right, Dewey totally had amazing taste in books!

Dar said...

Glad you enjoyed your first graphic novel Jill. I've tried a couple now. They aren't my fave-I still like a book.

saveophelia said...

I've been hearing about both Persepolis and Maus so often. I'm excited to read both! Graphic novels is definitely a new thing for me! I'm glad you're enjoying your Dewey Challenge picks so far :)

Bookfool said...

I've avoided Persepolis specifically because it sounds a little too dark and sad for me. It sounds like you confirmed my concerns, but I'm glad you enjoyed it! Dewey did have excellent taste.

Ali said...

This was one of my first graphic novels, too--now I'm hooked! Maus and about 6 others are on my bookshelf. I'm so glad you liked it!

beastmomma said...

I really enjoyed this book; here is my review: http://beastmomma.squarespace.com/from-shelf-to-hand/2008/9/6/persepolis.html

Chris said...

I can't wait to read this one! It may just have to cut in line in front of the other TBR books. On a totally unrelated note, I've come across so many posts today (including this one) that I totally thought I had commented on and definitely didn't....can I be dreaming of blog posts now? :/

bkclubcare said...

oh Bookfool! It's not THAT dark! She has such a great sense of humor and is so strong in herself - that I wouldn't describe this as a dark book. Well, she does endure a lot of dark stuff but...

I should have known better than to choose the same books as you - do you feel like I'm stalking you, too? I will be reviewing this after I see the film and I need to write one for Looking For Alaska ... I'm much more comfortable reviewing books no one else has read. oh well.

Great Review. :)

Ladytink_534 said...

I'm a little unsure about this one myself...

I have an award for you here.

softdrink said...

Mymeth, I'm going to have to have Chris add more points to your Bad Blogger tally...you're such an effective book pusher!

Beth - yes you do!

Joanne - Okay, I'm going to find Maus now.

Heather - There was so much more to it than I expected.

Dar - I don't think I could take a steady diet, but they are a good change.

saveophelia - I'm looking forward to the rest of my picks, too...I don't think there will be a bad one in the bunch.

Bookfool - I think it's still worth reading, and it's not depressing, by any means.

Ali - It seems like Persepolis and Maus are the first for many people.

beastmomma - I'm off to read your review in two secs!

Chris - You know you've been on the computer too much when...

Care - I may be quicker on the posting, but you're beating me to the comments. :-D

Tink - nah, you should go for it! And thanks!!

LisaMM said...

This is one I've been eyeing for a really long time. Great review.

bermudaonion said...

I'd like to read this one too.

J.S. Peyton said...

I really glad to hear you liked this book! I have it sitting on my shelf now as we speak. I have two recommendations for you: rent the movie based on this book. It's absolutely incredible. Second, if you'd like to read more graphic novels read "Fun Home" by Alison Bechdel. It's really very, very good.

Rebecca Reid said...

I enjoyed this one too. I liked the first one best.

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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