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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 29 October 2016
This book is absolutely wonderful. I went into this not really knowing what to expect but knowing that I wanted to try out another graphic novel after a successful first experience a few months ago. What I did not expect was the be completely blown away! What a treat this book is.

Persepolis provides a very rare insight into the world of life in the Middle East over a number of years. Most importantly, Marjane Satrapi shows us the reality of being a woman growing up in the Middle East under such a strict regime. Her passionate outlook on life really inspired me throughout all the tales she told in this book. From her battles with depression, the sexual experiences she had which were frowned upon by her friends as well as society, her outspoken approach to religion and the beautiful relationship with her family, particularly her father. This was a real page turner and came with beautiful images which really worked well with the story Satrapi was telling.

Satrapi's narration was powerful to the point where I completely channelled her emotions with her. I felt saddened, alone, excited, frustrated, happy and angry. Those are just an overview of the emotions you will feel whilst reading this wonderful story. This is a book that everyone should have to read at some point in their lives. So important and I feel thankful that Satrapi has shared her story with us. Incredible.
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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 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 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 5 March 2016
This has a more regular cartoon style, telling the story of Marjane's childhood in Iran. I loved the story, I knew next to nothing about Iran and learned lots about their history and what it was like to live through the civil war there.

Marjane had an usual childhood, she is the daughter of radical Marxists so was brought up to challenge the unfair status quo. She shows that Iranian girls have all the same interests as girls across the world, yet she balances it with the effects of having to wear a veil in public.

I was really shocked by some of the stories, how people went missing or were killed for what seemed like petty crimes. This really does bring home the conditions which women have to endure in Middle Eastern countries. The illustrations are simple black and white and the tone is very matter of fact, this has a serious message and I loved it.
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on 1 October 2014
At a University long time ago I had an Iranian friend, a young man, who was a bit older than me but we both were born in 70s. I had grown up in the province of the USSR and he in Iran. We had many a political discussion and he said something about Iranian islamic state that I hadn't thought about before "its like communism in the USSR, most people are not "true believers" if you want to be close to the power, you choose the ruling party/religion". Which is very true. We discussed a lot of other things as well and I have a very warm memory of all the people I met through him. But back to the book. There is a lot in Marjane's book that reminds me of my childhood and growing up - duplicity of everything, public face and the true colours, newspapers and the books hidden at the times before Soviet invasion (incidentally my most fond memory of a forbidden era book is of Superman cartoon that my grandfather had cut out from newspapers and glued to a notebook - the ending had been lost so I never new what happened to the Superman at the end) and of course reading between the lines and never trusting the official version of events. I loved this book and the fact that it is a graphic novel seems to make the story more "this actually happened to people".
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on 22 February 2014
This is a fascinating view of life pre and post the Islamic Revolution in Iran as viewed by a child from a very left-wing family related to the last emperor or Iran. Her bewilderment, anger and rebellion at being told she had to wear the veil ; the imprisonment and tragic death of her favourite uncle for opposing the regime, and her exile in Austria without her family all paint a vivid picture of the upheaval the Islamic Revolution brought about in this young girl's life and that of her family. This is not a sad story, there are many uproariously funny episodes witnessed through the eyes of this child on her way to adulthood and her return to Iran. I highly recommend this beautiful, honest story, that will make you feel intimately acquainted with Marjane and her family.
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on 14 May 2017
Got mixed feelings about this. I think having all the books in one makes it almost too long. The stories are amazing first hand accounts but I read the first 2 on their own and actually enjoyed them more. But as I say the insight into what it was like for girls and the just the war in general makes an incredibly powerful and moving story. How she manages to also be funny is part of the magic.
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on 11 February 2016
Insightful, educational, and powerful. An incredible read into the history and the culture of Iran, and one that opened my eyes up to my own ignorance and lack of knowledge about it. I also loved the drawings! I thought they were beautiful. This book is an informative, funny, and moving tale about a country full of struggle and trauma and the people that live there.
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on 13 October 2011
I am a self-confessed bookworm, but I can safely say I've never read a book like Persepolis. I bought this after watching the film, and being amazed by its humour, and artistic originality. The book has all this and more. Witty, funny and also moving, Marjane Satrapi's clever combination of illustration and text gives a unique "comic book" style. I was worried this wouldn't read like other books, but it does, and the story of the Iranian revolution is brilliantly told through a young girl's eyes as she grows up having to adjust as her surroundings do. Overall, a fantastic read.
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