Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood - Marjane Satrapi, Blake Ferris, Mattias Ripa This has been on my TBR for years, but I kept putting off reading it until I knew I could get both volumes to read. It's also my first non-fiction graphic novel. This isn't really a review, just rambling.

Reading Persepolis was, for me, kind of like reading Anne Frank's diary. We learned way more about the Holocaust in school, though, so I didn't go into reading that knowing almost nothing. It's really disturbing how things that didn't happen in the West are glossed over in so many schools. (I don't know if that's a trend all over the US, or just in places like the ones I've lived, but it's shocking to realize how little they teach, and it makes me wonder what kids in school today are learning.)

I only started to learn about the Revolution after I was out of school because they just didn't teach us about it in school. I think it was mentioned a couple of times, but my teachers were far from unbiased, so any discussion about any part of the Middle East usually became a long-winded, politically conservative rant (I was in high school a few years after 9/11, which didn't help) about "terrorists" (meaning anyone from a Middle Eastern country) and religious extremists. In short, it was disgusting and not educational.

Reading about all of this from the perspective of someone who was there, and coming of age, at the time was both (kind of morbidly) fascinating and heart breaking. There's this rebellious, strong willed young girl finding her footing and trying to make sense of what's happening, and looking for ways to join in with protests and things like that. But she's also still a child, dealing with everything she's known changing very rapidly, the deaths (natural and by execution) of people she knows, and all the general "growing up" things (friends, school, music, etc.) kids experience.

The simple artwork (it's all in black and white) worked very well for this story. Color, or more intricate drawings, would have distracted from the story. But the art is like small windows, giving the reader glimpses into daily life during this tumultuous time in a way that words alone can't.

I feel like this book (or these books, since there are two, but I haven't started the second yet) should be taught in schools, like The Diary of a Young Girl is. I borrowed these from the library, but I'm considering buying them for my child to read in a year or two when we start covering 20th century history (my kid is homeschooled, and I think this would be a great addition to our literature based curriculum).