Title: The Complete Persepolis
Author: Marjane Satrapi
Release Date: October 30, 2007
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir, Graphic Novel
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
From the front flap:
The Complete 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 trails 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–The Complete Persepolis is a stunning work from one of the most highly regarded, singularly talented graphic artists at work today.
The Complete Persepolis is actually two volumes edited into one: the first is Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood and the second is Persepolis: The Story of a Return . Combined, they represent some 15 years of Satrapi’s life and make a scintillating and beautiful tale.
When I picked up The Complete Persepolis, I wasn’t entirely sure on how the graphic novel format would work for a non-fiction story, and a memoir at that. I thought it might be too detached and wouldn’t give enough narrative information to tell an effective story. However, I found that I was completely wrong. The Complete Persepolis is a very personal memoir that is as emotional as it is interesting.
I loved the glimpse that The Complete Persepolis provided of revolutionary Iran. It was so interesting to learn about the protests against the Shah, and how it turned into an Islamic revolution. I have studied this subject in some detail, so it was refreshing to see it from a personal point of view and through a child’s eyes. I also found the discussion of the treatment of women in post-revolutionary Iran to be fascinating.
The illustrations in The Complete Persepolis are absolutely gorgeous. They add a lot to the story; after reading it in graphic novel format, I couldn’t imagine the memoir presented any other way. Now that I have read the book, I can’t wait to see the movie especially since they stayed true to the style of art in the graphic novel.
I really enjoyed The Complete Persepolis. It was very unique and completely captivating; I’m glad Marjane Satrapi chose the graphic novel format to present her memoir. It’s a great read that I highly recommend.