“The Complete Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi

The Complete Persepolis (Persepolis, #1-4)

(Author: Marjane Satrapi) + (Year: 2007) + (Goodreads)


I read Persepolis for various reasons, the two main ones: I’m in love with Iranian culture and I really wanted to read about Iran’s present state, and also because I need to read a comic book for the 2015 Reading Challenge.

The beginning was really promising, I liked young Marjane very much and mainly I enjoyed the fact that the revolution was described in detail but not too complex, since I’ve never been too interested in politics and very complicated descriptions of political actions really bore me. I’d already seen a movie or two and read a brief description of the events around the Islamic revolution, and Persepolis was quite helpful, because it’s not just political propaganda but also shows the opinion of the normal people and how things looked right around the revolution.

Even when there is opposition to certain political changes, it’s really hard to see the real thoughts of people and then sometimes they are simply brainwashed by the government and never even realize that something is wrong – they turn into exactly what the oppressive government needs. I was in a seemingly democratic, but actually communist country recently and before I went there, I’d only heard murmur about what’s really wrong. But having arrived in that country, I loved many things, but I was also struck by the way young people who don’t know any better, go on and on and on about how great their leader is and how he created the country(which is actually very old), how he almost brought the monkeys down from the trees and made humans from them.

On the topic of Persepolis there was no such problem. Marjane’s simplistic and somewhat childish description of events is very clear and rid of prejudice, it seems like a very honest opinion or even an objective description somewhat lacking too much personal opinion.

The best thing about Persepolis was the humor, especially at the beginning since there is not much of it later on. Young Marjane’s point of view is really fun to read, as is her understanding of the world. I laughed out loud many times and I really appreciated her subtle irony.

However, aside from the account of events, I didn’t much appreciate this graphic novel. Marjane’s time in Austria left me really annoyed with her, not only she’s making so many wrong decisions about herself but she is completely uncaring about the events in Iran. I don’t see how I’d be able to go to a foreign country and become a pot-smoking punk instead of going crazy about the fact that my family is in a country torn by war and insanity. Her brutal honesty was refreshing but her overall behavior was really disappointing. I can’t imagine what state of mind should one have in order to take and take money from a family in a country such as Iran, and waste it on buying drugs.

And if I thought that she would change after puberty, I was wrong. When Marjane returns to Iran things are not better. She is still untouched by the injustices as long as they are not directly connected to her. I was extremely angry at the episode when she gets a man arrested so that nobody gets mad at her for having lipstick. It’s disgraceful and very shameful, considering how hard a punishment can that man get in a dictatorship such as the one in Iran. All of the character’s actions are very controversial and frustrating.

The ending was also somewhat of a let-down, because it seems a bit abrupt and unfinished. She gets on a plane and…? What happened to her afterwards, and more importantly – what happened to her family? What is her stand about the present state of Iran and everything that is going on there? She gets her stuff and goes on a trip and it’s really every man for himself.


4 thoughts on ““The Complete Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi

      • stolenpens says:

        A friend of mine told me that it was good when it came out. I always meant to see it. I’m a big animation fan as well. The art style seemed to be original for an animated movie. Yeah, that’s another one that I have to get to one day. It looks like we both have some homework to do…


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