Persepolis is the memoir of author Marjane Satrapi who writes of her childhood growing up in the midst of the Islamic revolution in Tehran, Iran. At the heart of Iran, Tehran experiences the collapse of the Shah’s regime and the takeover by the Islamic revolution in full effect. Because of this, stories of torture, bombings, child soldiers, uprisings, oppression, and loss assume much of the novel, but so do the moments of love and friendship that are especially present in such circumstances. Marjane tells her story of living through this period of unrest with striking comic book images that highlight the innocence and vivacity of six-year-old “Marji”. Not unlike you or I at the age of six, Marji is rebellious and inquisitive, but these qualities are heightened in her by the characteristics of the revolution happening around her. Spurred on by her parents’ participation in opposition to both the Shah and the revolution, Marji participates in a rebellion of her own by embracing western culture instead of shaming it and can be seen proudly wearing Michael Jackson pins and buying Kim Wilde tapes on the black market.
This graphic novel allows us to learn about a life so different than the luxurious and even quiet life many of us live through the eyes of a young girl who is learning along with us. This unique perspective of often untold events is truly what makes the book worth reading. But what makes the book worth loving is the discernable sameness you feel with Marji who is experiencing the same pressures of growing up that we all do. From an intermittent relationship with God to questionable friendships and protective parents, Marji could be just another American girl. This book teaches us to question the underlying fear and prejudice we feel towards those who are different than us and shows that underneath it all we are the same.