Persepolis, by Marjane (“Marji”) Satrapi, is an autobiography-graphic novel about a young girl growing up in Iran during the time of the Iranian Revolution. Marji is the only daughter of an upper middle class couple, and as a result has the privilege of receiving an upper class education. Both her natural intuitiveness and high level of education contribute to her unique perspective of the world–a perspective which she is not shy to voice on a whim. As revolution leads to war and war leads to extremism, Marji is forced to grow up quickly in order to endure and process the turmoil and violence transpiring around her.
The combination of Marji’s intuition, intelligence, and rapid growth causes her to form very strong and unpopular opinions regarding the change in her country. Her rebelliousness often places her in dangerous situations with government organizations and extremist groups alike. As the violence escalates, Marji’s parents made the precautionary decision to send their daughter to Austria in order to ensure her safety.
Satrapi utilizes the graphic novel style in telling her story to better paint an image of each scene for the audience. In place of virant illustrations and graphic, a simple black and white pallet with basic drawing are used throughout the entirety of the book. The simplicity of the art style creates powerful symbolism as well as accurately depicts the black-and-white nature of a child’s understanding of the world around them.
Overall, Persepolis provides an interesting and well written depiction of growing up during the Iranian Revolution. While simple, both the art and writing styles effectively combine a coming of age story with a powerful, first-hand account of recent history. Persepolis is a quality read for anyone looking for an interesting and different account on a subject they likely know little about.