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review 2017-07-05 14:38
The Complete Persepolis
The Complete Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi

At the age of 6, she was sure she was the last prophet. When I read this, it put a smile on my face, this was a girl who had a dream, she saw the world around her and saw her place in it. This was Satrapi, an Iranian girl who lived in Iran before the revolution. When at the age at 10, she was told to wear the veil, she didn’t understand why, like many of them, but she abided by the rules and consulted God daily, keeping her faith hidden. Distress and chaos shatters the city as days turn into weeks, the weeks never ending as the fighting continues. Satrapi attends a demonstration, a history lesson is told, I feel that Satrapi finally begins to understand the multitude of the situation that she is living in. Grandma arrives and begins telling stories of the past, a strong bond is created between these two. Friends are leaving the country yet her parents refuse to leave, “everything will be alright……..” is repeated over and over again as if somehow saying this statement will result in it coming true. Satrapi suddenly becomes this different person, she’s authoritative, a leader, she becomes rebellious yet there she is, sticking up for what’s right. I liked this period in her life, she was all over the place, trying to find her way in her chaotic world. She wasn’t afraid of speaking her mind, of being the odd man out, she did what she thought was right and didn’t back down. There were times I was proud of her and other times, I questioned her and what she stood for.


At the age of 14, her parents send her to Australia, claiming they will meet up with her later, yet she knew they would not be coming. They were trying to protect her. In Australia, Satrapi arrives and moves around a few times until she finds a place to call her own. Satrapi had lived quite a life already and some individuals were interested in her past while others harassed her because of it. I liked the transformations that she makes during this next phase of her life, both physical and mentally. There was such a variety and she never stopped moving. From the age of 6, we knew she had determination and now, we see that she still has this inside her as she tries to make a life in Australia by herself. An interesting graphic novel memoir that I am glad that I picked up.

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review 2016-12-28 18:01
The Complete Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi
The Complete Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi

The Complete Persepolis - which I think actually compiles two novels, Persepolis and its sequel Persepolis 2 - is an autobiographical graphic novel telling the story of Marjane, a girl who grows up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. The story, as Satrapi mentions in her preface, is in part a corrective to the West's impression of Iran as a place of terrorism and extremism.


I'm not sure it corrects that view so much as complicates it. Certainly it's critical of the oppressive Islamic regime that took power in 1979, and especially its effect on the rights of women. It makes clear in heart-wrenching detail some of the sacrifices and the tragedies that ordinary Iranian people faced during the revolution and during the wars. But it also paints a picture of a nation that's more liberal and more modern - at least behind closed doors, in the cities - than the one we commonly imagine: a middle class that throws clandestine alcoholic parties and buys black-market music quite easily. Marjane and her family are very much people on whom a near-dystopic regime is imposed; they love their country and its history, but aren't made extensions of it.


One of the interesting things about the book, which I didn't think about until halfway through, is that it's drawn in black and white, which means that none of the characters look Iranian; or, rather, their Iranian-ness isn't made obvious. That, particularly, comes into play in the middle section of the book, when Marjane is sent to Europe by her parents to continue her education outside the regime's influence. Her difference is marked to the European characters by her looks; but to the reader (an extension of Marjane's consciousness) she (and her family) is no different. We shouldn't have to be told this, of course, but knowing something intellectually is different to being confronted with it visually, and I think this de-othering is part of the book's project.


This raises all sorts of questions about Westernisation, though, something which the book's doing deliberately. It's worth saying again: we shouldn't need a book like this to explain a country and a culture to us (though I'm not debating that we do need it). It feels like it's both aligning with Western-centrism and indicting it at the same time.

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review 2016-08-01 23:28
The Complete Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi

Wow. I just.... Wow. Hot damn. I was not expecting such a strong emotional attachment to this book.


I can't even form coherent thoughts right now. Just read this book, you won't regret it.

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review 2016-07-26 20:23
Doesn't pull any punches
The Complete Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi was the June book from the feminist book club on Goodreads called Our Shared Shelf started by Emma Watson. This was the first graphic novel we've read in the group so I was understandably quite excited. This is the true story of the author's experience growing up in Tehran (the capital of Iran). The book opens at the beginning of the Islamic revolution in 1979. The first chapter is called The Veil and describes the incredulity of all of the children in her school when they are told that they are now required to wear the veil. Marjane is  bounces between unbelievably horrific imagery of torture to the seemingly arbitrary rules and regulations thrust upon Iranians. It's at times quite humorous but mostly it's appalling. The graphic depictions of torture, death, and oppression are raw and I felt gave our main character more depth than did the descriptions of her relationships and drug experimentation. It can be difficult to review a memoir (as I mentioned with Blankets) because it feels somewhat odd to say "I'm not a huge fan of the main character". However, it's the truth. I didn't really care for Marjane and I didn't really connect with her. I did connect with the plights of the people in her country. When she wrote about the unfairness of the law and the subterfuge that everyone committed just to have some semblance of humanity I felt deeply moved. The art style is not my favorite but neither is it terrible. I'd say this would be a good read for someone who wants to learn more about the people of Iran and their struggles but for me it's not one I'd reread and I don't think I'd read any more of her works. :-/ 5/10

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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text 2015-09-27 23:48
Top Ten Most Challenged Books in 2014
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie,Ellen Forney
The Complete Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi
And Tango Makes Three - Justin Richardson,Henry Cole,Peter Parnell
The Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison
It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health - Robie H. Harris,Michael Emberley
Saga, Volume 1 - Brian K. Vaughan,Fiona Staples
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
A Stolen Life - Jaycee Dugard
By Raina Telgemeier Drama - Raina Telgemeier

This is taken from the American Library Association's website devoted to banned books: http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks. You can read why this books were challenged if you click on the link. Here are my thoughts/opinions/reactions:


1)      The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian  by Sherman Alexie


         This book is constantly on most challenged lists of any kind. A new reason for its' challenge is for depictions of bullying, which is a hot topic among school administrators. After reading the blurb, I think I will add it to the wish list. Native American voices are sorely needed in American literature and to try and silence those voices because it doesn't fall in line with "cultural sensitivity' (another reason for challenges) of non-Native Americans doesn't make these experiences and voices less valid.


2)      Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi


        I admit to not knowing a whole lot about Iran or Iranians/Iranian-Americans, so this would be a great introduction to that world. I feel like there is a two-pronged agenda for challenging this book: one, it is by an Iranian (a group of people we have been conditioned to hate due to our governments not getting along), and two because it is written by an immigrant woman. This agenda makes me twitchy. Another add to the wish list.


3)      And Tango Makes Three, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell


        My first reaction to this is really? After so many years? I wonder where Heather Has Two Mommies falls in this order (that was the big LGBT+ taboo book when I was in school - you know, back in the medieval age). Going to look for it at my local libraries and read it to the kids. No time like the present to start the rebellion in the next generation.


4)      The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison


       My first reaction to this is, "OMG not Morrison! She is beloved among the literary circles." I guess critical and commercial success does not insulate you from the hammers of banning. I have never read Morrison, but I heard not to start with this book but rather her earlier novels and work your way to this book.


5)      It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris


     Because America was colonized by a bunch of Puritans (a group the Brits couldn't wait to get rid of) and we haven't quite rid ourselves of that sense to this day. That is all I can think that would make a non-fiction health book about puberty challenge material.


6)      Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples


       This book is often challenged due to "anti-family" sensibilities. I can't really think of series that is more "all about the family" than this series, and here is an article that backs that up and proves challengers wrong: http://io9.com/10-reasons-you-should-be-reading-brian-k-vaughan-s-sag-756300575.


7)      The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini


       Much like Persepolis, I think a lot of challenges are based on how Americans see Afghanistan, the Afghani people, and Afghani-Americans through the lens of the media and our government. I am not really familiar with Afghanistan. One of the reasons it is challenged is due to "violence and torture"; uh, hello, Soviet invasion and the Taliban regime weren't all puppies and rainbows people! I am putting this on my TBR wish list, but will be prefacing that with the admission that I will be skipping the child rape scene(s) - I know I won't be able to handle that.


8)      The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky


      My reaction to this challenge is "teenagers in a YA book acting like...teenagers? That is what is dangerous...uh, okay." I might read, even though I don't normally read YA.


9)      A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard


      I am dumbfounded as to why this is on the list. This woman went through a hell I couldn't even imagine and wrote the book to make sure her voice and story was known without the editorial slants by various media. Yes, it would be behoove parents to know and understand their kids' limits on reading this story, but to ban it because it is sexually explicit is stupid - she was raped and bore two daughters, this isn't 50 Shades of Get Your Rocks Off. This story was everywhere, so to try and cover up the victim's story in her own words feels so damn wrong. Another addition to the wish list.


10)  Drama, by Raina Telgemeier


    Because coming to terms with your sexuality should happen only after you get your driver's license? This book has the most shaky of reasons for being challenged. And having a middle school age girl be that self confident and know what she wants out of life (at the present time) and goes out and does it? We are banning that? Another graphic novel to add to the wish list.


Final thoughts:

I would like to state for the record that I am not a government conspiracy theorist (or practitioner for that matter). I just understand that in order to gain support for certain military operations, a good vs. evil narrative is given by the media to spin. Geography and cultural studies really aren't American past times, which aid in spinning a certain narrative (I give the example of Czech Republic vs. Chechnya on Twitter during the Boston bombing).


Also, I find it interesting that graphic novels are such popular materials to challenge. Could it be that the pictures add another dimension that make people uncomfortable with the themes discussed?


Challenging non-fiction, and an autobiography at that, worries me as a historian-ish person. Will more autobiographies and first person accounts of events be challenged in the future? What about history books? I don't like to use the slippery slope argument, but banning non-fiction books because they tell of a time/event/place that is less than sunshine and apple pie to me sets a dangerous tone for future generations learning our country's history.


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