I just finished reading Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi. I haven’t read many graphic novels — Calvin and Hobbes was more my style when it came to comic books, etc. I picked up the book, which is a collection of two separate graphic novels by Satrapi, a couple of years ago and finally read it. Persepolis ends up being the tales of a young Satrapi, caught between her native Iran and her adolescence in Europe.
I really liked Persepolis — I felt like I learned a lot about revolutionary Iran, about what it’s like to live in a society that feels alien and yet familiar. The stark drawings (all in black and white) are full of life, and Satrapi is pretty frank about her feelings and her mistakes. She is too bold for Iran, at least the Iran of her youth and probably of today (I believe she lives in Paris now). There’s a film version of Persepolis that came out last year or so, which I haven’t seen, but which would be an interesting contrast to the graphic novel.
One of the reasons why I’ve always been such a reader is that I like seeing the world through someone else’s eyes, and I felt fairly immersed in Satrapi’s world. It makes me grateful that I have lived in places where I don’t have to cover my hair or body for fear of police retaliation. It will be interesting to see if America’s relationship changes with Iran over the next few years, because of new leadership or new attitudes. I hope it does.