The Complete Persepolis

Current stop: Iran.

When we’re afraid, we lose all sense of analysis and reflection. Our fear paralyzes us. Besides, fear has always been the driving force behind all dictators’ repression.

This graphic novel has been on my to-read list for years, so this reading challenge was the perfect motivation for me to pick it up and finally give it a shot.

I am not a huge graphic novel fan–I’ve read a few but it certainly isn’t my priority to read them. However, I was completely drawn in almost immediately upon starting this one, and finished reading it within a day.

Persepolis in autobiographic look at the Marjane Satrapi’s life growing up in Iran, and the result of the new regime which forces her and other girls to wear the veil, among other things. The story is quick paced although thoughtful, and the characters are vibrantly real. Satrapi does not paint herself with a sympathetic brush. She is not asking for you to agree with her or even like her. Instead, she exposes her own mistakes and flaws. I think she may be the most well-rounded, introspective narrator I’ve found in a memoir/auto-biography.

Satrapi is witty and clever, and even though this contained heavy material, as well as some pretty in-depth history lessons, her narration and artwork kept the story moving at a steady pace.

This is an excellent read in today’s political climate. Another reminder that there are real, living, breathing, full human beings living in the countries we have been taught to fear and disregard.

Next stop: Afghanistan

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