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Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

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Persepolis

Review by ____________


The year is 1979. Iran is in turmoil, in the midst of a revolution. The dictator-like Shah (Persian for “King”) has held the country in his iron grip for 38 years. At the same time, the very religious Islamic portion of the country is angered by the Shah’s “Western” way of governing and his oppressiveness. So, they decide to do something about it: Start a revolution and overthrow the Shah, establishing an Islamic government.


There is bloodshed, protests, and riots. Iran is divided. And caught in the middle: The everyday people of Iran. This is the story behind Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood. The book revolves around the author, Marjane Satrapi. Satrapi pieces together a witty and intriguing graphic novel/memoir about her childhood growing up in revolutionary Iran during the late 1970’s. She tells about her family’s mixed thoughts on the revolution, and how it troubles her and gets her into trouble. Although her family is opposed to the revolution, they weren’t necessarily happy during the rule of the Shah’s regime. Marjane’s family is as religious as the next, but they do not like the fundamentalist ideas of the revolutionaries, i.e. the Satrapi’s women chose to not wear the veil, and they do not avert their eyes when talking to men.


When the revolution succeeds, it turns out that the new ruler, the Ayatollah Kohmeni, is just as oppressive as the last one. For the Satrapi’s, certain liberties that they have had, like music, parties, alcohol, art, photographs, etc. are banned, and Marjane and her family have to go to extreme measures, like blacking out their windows, to avoid being arrested, and possibly executed. As the book moves on, things get worse, and the Iran-Iraq war breaks out. What will happen to Marjane and her family? Read this book to find out!


I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was brilliant in the sense that it was written in graphic style, as comic strips. Satrapi provides intriguing and funny commentary on the events of the revolution, and the fact that she lived through these events made it even better. I give it five stars out of five (five being the best). While reading, I could almost picture myself standing next to Marjane in Tehran, watching the revolution occur with my own eyes. That was how well written, intricate, and descriptive this book is.


I recommend this book for people 13 years and older. To really get into this book, I had to do some research on some of the topics that are hard for kids to get their heads around, for they have to do with politics and events that happened a while ago. Even though they can be hard to understand, the author does an excellent job depicting these events. As far as appropriateness, the worst thing is depictions of violence and very brief strong language. Other than that, the book is fairly kid-friendly. This is a great read, so please pick it up.
Happy Reading,

___________________________





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