Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Thank you to everyone who answered the discussion questions either in the comments or on your own blog. I'm not really sure how to get more participation with the online book club, especially since so many of you belong to real-life book clubs and have tons of personal reading challenges going on, but I'm enjoying the experiment nonetheless. It gives me a deadline for at least one book per month, which helps me with my year-long goal of reading one book per week.

This month's book, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, was my first-ever graphic novel. I'm not sure I'd like to read just anything as a graphic novel, but I thought it worked well for this book. Satrapi deals with some heavy subjects in this memoir, which includes a great deal of information about Iranian history over the past thirty years, and I think the illustrations really helped to enhance the telling of those stories. It also made for easy and quick reading. Although Satrapi covers a lot of material in this book, it doesn't take long to get through it because she doesn't have to painstakingly describe the anguish on someone's face, or the horrors of torture. Instead she's able to show us how specific comments or incidents directly affected her and her family.

I think this is an important book for Americans to read, especially as we march toward (most likely) war with Iran. I think understanding something about Iran's history and culture will help us to relate better to the Iranian people, rather than demonizing them as could be the case.

The one thing I disliked about Persepolis was the abrupt ending. She leaves us hanging with some pretty major questions about her future and her family left unanswered. I realize there are four books in this series though, so I'm sure they'll be answered eventually...and now I have to read them to find out what happens!

While the illustrations are minimalist in nature, they do their job in helping to give life to the story at hand. Since this is my first graphic novel I don't have much to compare it to, but I'd recommend it all the same.

My one regret in reading this book was that I didn't wait until I had the money to purchase the French version. I thought it would be a good personal challenge to attempt reading this in its original French form. Perhaps I'll have that opportunity with the sequels.

Other thoughts on this book can be found on:
Beastmomma's blog
Plus, le blog
Reading Room

P.S. The book for September is going to be House & Home by Kathleen McCleary. I'll be posting more information about the book and author tomorrow. Just wanted to give you a little sneak peak.


Laura said...

I really am intrigued by this graphic novel now--yours is the second review on it I've read this week! Did you find it a big annoying to have to stop reading to look at the pictures, or did you get used to it pretty quickly?

Becca said...

Laura: The photos didn't really distract me. There were a couple that I really stopped and studied, but for the most part the pictures helped to illustrate the words and were placed in such a way that you don't feel like you have to look back and forth between the drawing and the words. Does that make sense?

beastmomma said...

Hello Becca:
I am not sure if I left you the link to my review. It is finally up. Here is the link:

Dewey said...

Ha ha, yes, I had to get Persepolis 2 right away to find out some of those answers.

And you've won a box of books from Hachette over on my blog! Come see!