Graphic Novels are an ever-evolving art form that continues to delight and surprise their readers. Marjane Satrapi wrote a beautiful memoir in graphic novel form to help the world understand not only her struggles, but the Iranian Revolution and its impact on the lives of its citizens.
When Marjane was just a young girl, the Shah was kicked out of Iran and Khomeini stepped into power. With him came the religious police, and the dreaded veil. Riddled with protests, outcry and violence, her tranquil home was thrown into the thicket of uncertainty. Where progressiveness used to sit, now was a new sense of oppression. She talks about this transition, the loss of her innocence and security, and how it affects the rest of her life. Written in two parts, the story follows her through school, into college, where she has a series of boyfriends, a tragic parting from home, and a very bright, hopeful future.
Satrapi is an inspirational writer. Her focus is on truth and the abrasive facts that come with revolution, but she does it in a way that is not completely devastating. Her prose is beautiful, enchanting, and hilarious. When you couple this genius with the beautiful, simple frames of graphic excellence, you get the perfect graphic novel. She does everything right. Far beyond the simplistic idea of a graphic novel, the story transcends the boundary of memoir and takes the reader on a journey unlike much else in literature.
The novel focuses on a part of history that would have otherwise been overlooked. The average American reader knows vaguely what happened during the revolution, but they lose out on the first person pull that a memoir can provide. The story is flawless, and the art is intense, beautiful and reminiscent of the art in some of the propaganda of the time. Reading Persepolis is truly an experience.