As a child, Marjane Satrapi wanted to be a prophet when she grew up. She even began writing her own holy book; among her dictates were such rules as “no old person should have to suffer” and “all maids should eat at the table with the others.” Raised by modern, Marxist-leaning parents, Marji was an outspoken child who eagerly embraced new ideas. She would have the chance to wrestle with a lot of them: she was 10 years old when the events of Iran’s Islamic Revolution began. Persepolis has received tons of hype from both comics fans and the mainstream press; like Art Spiegelman’s Maus, Persepolis won over people who had never thought a comic book could convey serious subject matter. Marjane Satrapi’ s funny, wise, heart-wrenching book deserves every bit of praise it has received. Her stark, witty black and white forms have the power to make you laugh in one panel and gasp with horror in the next. Her writing is full of subtle insight as she shows us a child and a country caught up in revolution, fundamentalism, and war. Most importantly, she shows us how ordinary lives go on amid uncertainty and violence. She’s also unbelievably funny. U.S. fans eagerly await the second volume of Satrapi’s memoir, which was originally written and published in France (where the author now lives). Curse those lucky French! While adults are more likely to pick up Persepolis, politically- or historically-minded teens will love it too. It’s a natural choice for teachers and librarians. If you need to convince someone that comics can educate as well as entertain, go buy this book right now.
Persepolis: the Story of a Childhood
By Marjane Satrapi
Pantheon Books, 2003