There are books that have been calling to me to read them for years and Persepolis is one of them. Written and drawn by Marjean Satrapi, Persepolis is the autobiography of a young girl who grows into a young woman while witnessing the changes in Iran beginning in the 70’s and how those changes shaped the life not only of Satrapi and her friends and family but the entire world.
If you are uncertain of the details of the Iranian Revolution I would suggest a quick read through some facts before beginning the book, it will help keep you grounded in the story of Satrapi’s life if you understand the forces that were shaping it. There is so much at work in the story that sometimes it can feel overwhelming. I had to force myself to slow down since I read at a breakneck speed and a book like this seems to reward a slower, more thoughtful pace. It did for me.
Hearing about a major world altering event from the perspective of a young girl living in the center of it is a new experience for me. I am accustomed to hearing history told by older, often victorious men. Satrapi survived her experiences but the future her family agitated for in Iran was not victorious. And that is something I did not know going into the book, that many of the people who fought for the revolution against the Shah weren’t looking to install a religious based government. Rather, they were often socialist or communist looking to right the long history of wrongs against the ordinary people of Iran.
I cannot recommend Persepolis enough. For me, it has begun an investigation into the history of Iran and the region as a whole from a whole new perspective. Here is an excellent interview Satrapi did with Asia Society about not just her books but her life in both Iran and France.
“For me there were so many misunderstandings and so many mistakes concerning my country that I wanted to tell the story in a way that people would understand it better.”