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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 19 November 2006
I am not typically a big fan of graphic novels but the work of Joe Sacco took my breath away when I was in college so it was with glee and expectation that I took this book up.

Its superb. Comics are considered juvenile. I am utterly convinced, as a result of this book, that the graphic novel is a great vehicle for discussing the most serious and sombre of topics. The contrast between the simple drawings and the complex events they represent create a balance so that you can read the saddest things without being weighed down.

That having been said, the moving tale of an independent young woman's maturation in and out of post-revolution Iran moved me to tears at some points. I have an insight into the country that countless documentaries or news articles about President Ahmadinejad or Ayatollah Khomeini couldn't give me.

I strongly recommend it to everyone. It will be an eye-opening education.
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on 29 April 2008
This is a fantastic comic that will appeal to both comic fans & non-comic fans alike.

Despite the Amazon title, this edition "Persepolis. The Story of a Childhood and The Story of a Return" actually contains the complete Persepolis series.

"The Story of a Childhood" was original published in France as Persepolis 1 & 2, "The Story of a Return" was original published in France as Persepolis 3 & 4
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on 20 August 2008
This is a simply told story that touches on some very big ideas; the Islamic revolution; loyalty and family; and which boys you should fancy.
The main character is charming, naive, sympathetic and occasionally annoying - in other words, a very convincing young woman.
A fantastic read, especially if you think you don't like comic books!
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VINE VOICEon 20 November 2007
This is a graphic novel about Marjane's childhood and early adulthood in Iran. It combines the joy of reading a comic book with a real insight to life in Iran - through her eyes. It was no effort to read - in fact it was a absolute page turner but at the end of it I still felt I had a much better understanding of recent Iranian history and its impact on ordinary people than before. It is very funny, and winsome but she never loses sight of the pity of it all. Imagine, her liberal family with fine revolutionary credentials suddenly had to wear a veil/grow a beard and live in a religious state. How do they adapt? She describes her family and friends's reluctant conformity with great wit but in a manner that is sensitive to the background thunder of political executions, fear, torture and war. I cannot wait for the film.
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on 14 August 2016
It is strangely not The Story of a Childhood that is strong of the two books compiled here, but The Story of a Return, much of which is about the time the author spent in Austria rather than in Iran.

The first book has all the detail of life in Iran during and and in the immediate years after the revolution but comes off as too glib and self absorbed due to her being focussed on her own gauche, childish miscomprehension and reactions to events. This book is much stronger read as an examination of how children are, in the negative sense, than one on the events that she is writing about, which are set down so methodically that it is almost like a checklist is being followed. The second book is unexpectedly a lot stronger than the first though the first has much more on her subject, Iran.

The illustration isn't very strong, being rather childish, while not using this to its advantage, emotions conveyed without much subtlety or detail. The book is too chronological and could have done with being more mixed up (a little of Jimmy the Smartest Kid on Earths style) rather than so very "this happened then this happened then this then this". Stronger graphic novels that convey together what Persepolis does in terms of how people and family members are together and / or the reactions to sweeping socio political changes are the brilliant Maus by Art Spiegelman and the mostly excellent Fun Home by Alison Bechtel.
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on 14 November 2015
This graphic novel memoir is split into sections, the firs tells of Marjane Satrapi’s life in Tehran from when she 6 to 14. It’s her experience of the changes after the overthrowing of the Shah’s regime, the Islamic revolution and the war with Iraq. The second half is about Marji’s life in Austria, where her family sent her own safety, her isolation there and then Marji’s return to Tehran after four years.

Marjane Satrapi’s narration is engaging, you get to know her and her life really well. I learned so much from Persepolis. During the first half of the book (when Marji is a child) there are explanations about what was going on in Tehran at that time, as well the history behind this. When Marji returns from Austria the public vs private life personas continue to be opposite. People are being watched all the time. I think the below quote from Persepolis is fitting:

The regime had understood that one person leaving her house while asking herself:
Are my trousers long enough?’
Is my veil in place?’
Can my make-up be seen?’
Are they going to whip me?’

No longer asks herself:
Where is my freedom of thought?’
Where is my freedom of speech?’
My life, is it livable?’
What’s going on in the political prisons?”

If you haven’t read any graphic novels before then let this be the one to start. Don’t like history or memoirs? I think Persepolis might just convince you otherwise.
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on 24 December 2015
"Persepolis" by Marjane Satrapi, is a personal and historical graphic novel of a time in Iran, a country which was called Persia for thousands of years; revealing the events from a clever child and then a young woman's point of view, as she grows up with the political situation expanding and evolving, & she was sophisticated beyond her years because of the good education, and also because of her families' multi involvement and input, experienced by so many of her family. It is a brilliant novel because of the multi-faceted approach, revealing the whole story of Iran in the 20th century and the upheavals and horror of political fundamentalist power and complete suppression and control on members of the whole family, but at first seen through the eyes of a child with her own childish ego, as she want to put the whole world to rights as a prophet: something that many a clever child of imagination has dreamed of doing- "putting the world of stupid adults to rights", suffering mentally and physically under this power, and eventually growing up and learning to live with things as they are, until they gradually change again.
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on 9 September 2010
This comic is unreadable on the kindle...the font is too small. Changing the text size does not change the font size of the comic
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on 5 June 2012
You may have heard of the film but this book is the story that inspired it.

Marjane Satrapi wrote this autobiographical account of her childhood in Iran during (and following) the Islamic Revolution. The child of wealthy Marxist parents and the great-granddaughter of Iran's last Emperor, Satrapi - by her own admission in the comic - was more privileged, and liberal, than many others in Iran.

`Persepolis' charts different anecdotes from Satrapi's childhood and adolescence - each like its own few-pages-long comic strip. The illustrations, all in black and white, are amazing. Her memories, told through the eyes of a child, are funny and startling in equal measure.

Charting the changes in Iran during the Revolution, Satrapi demonstrates how politics can impact on the personal. Many of the stories are about how Satrapi and/or her family tried to find ways of being true to themselves without being imprisoned by the radical religious police. As Iran, and its operations became increasingly strict, Marjan grew up and continued to be outspoken - sometimes with scary or amusing consequences. There are stories about things that we in the West take for granted: alcohol, make-up, running for the bus and rock music.

The second part of `Persepolis' charts Marjane's departure from Iran to Austria where she meets some very `interesting' characters as well as going through some really harrowing personal times. Satrapi had a knack for understanding what it is to be an outsider, even in your own home.

Marjane Satrapi is a true hero - she's an irrepressible spirit as well as being funny and entirely charming as a narrator. She never shies away from stories that will not necessarily paint her in a bad light but she is so honest that I couldn't help but admire her.

`Persepolis' is an example of the ridiculous (the regime) and the sublime (the brave narrator).
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on 27 April 2012
Publisher: vintage books

Genre: autobiography/graphic

ISBN: 978-0-099-52399-4

This book is written as a storyboard and the style suits it perfectly. I have never read a book written using this method but I found it to be a very enjoyable experience. For this particular book it works extremely well as it carries the volume of dialogue, if this had been written in straight prose it would have resembled a play rather than a novel.

Marjanes general writing style is warm and inviting. As she narrates her story you can hear her voice and it brings the action to life. She captures the horrors of war and the difficulties of love in a style which makes all the subjects in this book seem very real to the reader. I have never been to Iran but I could connect with Satrapi and understood he point of view because it was explained so well and so easily.

This book gave me a totally new perspective of muslim women and what they may have been thinking while living under oppressive regimes. Young Iranian girls are not so different to European girls once stripped down to just their thoughts and emotions.

A very cleverly written book on a subject which I normally would not read, excellent.

Personal read 5/5

Group read 4/5 Plenty to discuss but not everybody's choice of subject.
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