Persepolis I & II by Marjane Satrapi (2000-2003)


L: 7/10

M: 8/10

Analysis from unpalatable soil:

These trades were a nice change from our alternate history trend we currently were riding on with 1984, The Handmaid’s Tail, and California. I am far from a history buff, with so much of the history of the Middle East is a vast cloud of confusion for me. Persepolis does a great job of not beating the reader over the head with historical facts. The story of a young girl becoming a woman, while her country sways with the tide of war and revolution, intertwine so nicely that a history lesson sneaks its way passed your eyes.

The author and main character, Marjane Satrapi, was a natural character to like. She narrates the tragedies and historical events that shaped her life through a single color of black, creating a story that is anything but monochrome. While her family stays through the darkest periods of war, she has flown away to Austria, where her darkest days revolve around seclusion and failed relationships. Once she moves back and becomes an adult, the story really hits its stride, as Marjane refuses to fold herself into what she’s told she must.

The two volumes combine nicely into a life I couldn’t even imagine going through myself. My worst memories are of not making the soccer team, while there are people in the world who are unable to express their simplest of beliefs. This was a perfect mix of autobiography, humor, and history. It’s a shame that it’s taken me this long to finally check it out.

Analysis from a super chubby starving artist:

Because I am the type of gal to almost exclusively judge a book by its cover, I had no idea what I was getting into with this particular choice. I saw the cover and dug the artwork and oddly enough the font and said: “Yup, that’s my pick!” I would say that I will investigate further in the future, but this actually turned out well for me.

This is a story full of such darkness and tragedy yet delivered with such wit that I was invested immediately. Persepolis is a history lesson of a culture I knew very little about. It’s incredible to hear the view of a woman who survived much but never portrays the victim. As far as artwork, it was simplistic with it’s black and white structure, but full of detail and visually appealing.

In all, this read seemed like a depressing history lesson presented with wit and charm. This has definitely been a highlight read for me.

Marjane Satrapi

Addendum: Persepolis (2007)


L: 9.5/10

M: 9/10

Analysis from L:

The film version of the graphic novel Persepolis was such a great adaptation. I watched the first half on my phone at work and started over from the beginning once I got home so I could watch it on a larger screen.

The editing done in this film makes the sections of the graphic novel flow perfectly into one continuous story. The majority of the scenes from the book show up here, some being breezed by for a time, and others being opened up a slight bit more. The voice acting is perfect, and the animation fits the source material accurately.

Seeing Marjane’s life unfold, this time knowing the beats and set pieces, only added to the experience. I felt even closer to the characters than before, and the tragedy felt more substantial, the depression darker. The book and movie were a great combo, and I’d definitely recommend consuming them as a combo meal.

Analysis from M:

I couldn’t have asked for a better pairing for the book than this thoughtful little film. I love that the illustrative style didn’t stray from the original book, as it initially attracted me to the piece.

I particularly enjoyed the fact that the movie doesn’t leave critical portions of the book and adds additional information to the parts the book just skimmed over. The characters are given more life, and, therefore, they become even more invested in each one of them.

I concur entirely with L on this one. This is a package deal. One medium without the other is definitely worth a look, but together it is perfection. This is a stretch from our typical genre, but I will revisit this a few times and have already recommended it to other avid readers.

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