Friday, August 15, 2014

**#COYER Review ~ The Complete Persepolis ~ Marjane Satrapi**


This COYER review is actually of a print book but since #COYER Summer Vacation suspended the rules about being ebooks only, I'm including it for my challenge.

The Complete Persepolis (Persepolis, #1-4)
The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Release Date: October 30, 2007
Genre: Memoir, Graphic Novel
Source: Purchased copy for my daughter, for school
Rating: 5 Bookworms

Here, in one volume: Marjane Satrapi's best-selling, internationally acclaimed memoir-in-comic-strips.

Persepolis is the story of Satrapi's unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming -- both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up.

Edgy, searingly observant, and candid, often heartbreaking but threaded throughout with raw humor and hard-earned wisdom - Persepolis is a stunning work from one of the most highly regarded, singularly talented graphic artists at work today.

My daughter, Sky, read Persepolis in 9th grade for her English class. It had a profound impact on her and she's been bugging  asking me to read it ever since. (Sky, I'm sorry it took me so long to get to it.) I think I hesitated because it's a graphic novel and I'm not big on those. But Persepolis was amazing - and very enlightening!

Persepolis is the memoir of a girl growing up in a war-torn Iran. When I hear Iran, I think of the Iran hostage crisis, gas rationing, and the Ayatollah. I think of 'the veil' and religious extremists. Why? Well, mostly because that's what the news told me about when I was growing up. In Persepolis, I got to see Iran from an entirely different perspective.

Marjane Satrapi is from a family that was once very affluent. A family that is proud of the Persian heritage. A family more worshipful of free-thinking than Islam. Marjane attended a French school and dressed similarly to any teenager - until the Islamic Revolution. During the revolution, Marjane's parents protested and spoke against the new regime. They stayed true to themselves and their heritage.

As things escalated and war began, Marjane's parents decided it best that Marjane continue her education abroad. So Marji went to Vienna, with mixed results. I thought it very profound that Marjane said,
"I was a westerner in Iran, an Iranian in the west. I had no identity."
Marjane does an incredible job of imparting her story of being raised to be outspoken in her beliefs, of surviving war, of surviving not having a true identity, and of finding herself. I was delighted that her parents were always supportive of her. They had raised her to be independent, educated, and emancipated and they never tried to hold her back. I was shocked by the horrors of war that she was witness to and the struggle to maintain pride in a country so divided. I was surprised to learn that the fanatical 
Muslims are a very small population of Iran - they just happen to hold the power. I was dismayed to learn how those in power abuse it - making martyrdom so lauded. And I was proud of Marjane for doing her best to stay true to herself - being somebody and making her family proud.

Persepolis is a book I'd highly recommend reading. It was historically educational, and enlightening - it definitely changed how I see the country of Iran. And the story is so very relevant today as well. For as Marjane's father said,
"In any case, as long as there is oil in the Middle East we will never have peace."


  1. I think it's so cool to have a powerful memoir in graphic novel form! I'm betting that a lot of younger reasons will enjoy it more. My son likes graphic novels, but I've only read one. I'm glad you gave this a try and loved it, Brandee!

  2. I really enjoy learning about other cultures and the history of places especially in an entertaining format such as a book. I think this one sounds great and I'm glad that you really enjoyed it! Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven.

  3. I had to analyze certain parts of the novel for English lit class, and I remember being intrigued. Never picked it up though. Might be worth another look at now.

  4. Oh I didn't know we had a book like that but I saw the movie and it was really interesting so the book could be too. thanks!

  5. It is clear this book had an impact on you. I haven't read any graphic novels, but I know my sister loves them. Great review!

    Teresa @ Readers Live A Thousand Lives

  6. Aaah, that's sweet that you and your daughter share similar reading preferences. I'm sure she forgave you for delaying reading this one for so long; she's probably just happy that you DID finally make time for it. There aren't very many novels on my TBR pile that are set in the Middle East, but I might cheat, and watch the movie instead because I'm lazy. :D

  7. I don't think I have read anything like this before, but it is great to see that it opened your eyes to the culture. Great review Brandee!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

  8. Is it weird that I kind of just want to read this based on the cover? 'Cause I kinda do, LOL . . . ;)

  9. Oh this sounds seriously good. I have to say, I started reading your review with the same mentality you had - I'm not into graphic novels :( But wow, what a great story! It's so true, the image we have of Iran can be so skewed by what the media feeds us, so this story seems it could be really profound. And I love that Sky read this in 9th grade - good for her school! Great review Brandee :)


Now you know what I think...what are your thoughts??