Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Complete Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi

Title: The Complete Persepolis
Author: Marjane Satrapi
Date Finished: August 22, 2008 #49
Pages: 341
Rating: 4.5/5

Dear Book Blogosphere Friends,

Thank you for reading such wonderful books and posting about them so that I can say that I want to read them in my comments to you until I leave enough comments saying that I want to read the book that I actually have to breakdown and get the book to read it so that I don't have to keep saying I want to read that book and instead I can say I read and loved that book, too!

Love,

Trish

I promise--no more intentional run-on sentences for the rest of this post. :) I admit it, I was really reluctant to read a graphic novel. I was incredibly prejudiced and shame on me! I really have no good excuse so I'm not even going to bother trying to make them up. After seeing them everyone on the blogosphere, I decided I need to stop being such a whiner and at least try one. So, I went to the bookstore, used my lovely gift certificate that I've been hording for months (I don't know why I will use cash when I have a gift card, but I do) and got The Complete Persepolis--taking the chance that if I liked the first book so much I'd probably want the second book as well.

What a surprise (and why should I be so surprised when my trusted book friends have all raved about this book! Silly me!). I read this during my trip to Toronto, mostly in the car to and from Niagara and downtown, and my sister was so intrigued that even she was reading over my shoulder most of the time and has asked to borrow it.

Persepolis is about a young girl, Marji, and her world turned upside down during the Islam Revolution in Iran during the late 70s and early 80s. When Marji is 14, she is sent to Austria to live, and the second half of the book focuses more on her time there and her struggles to come to terms with her true self. In many ways it is a classic bildungsroman, but what makes Marji's story so special is that we can also see how the revolution affected a little girl who doesn't really understand what is happening around her but wants to with such intensity. The first page (hopefully you can enlarge it to read the text):

The illustrations contain so much emotion that it was easy to laugh and cry along with Marji during the different events and trials of her life. And because there is so little room for words, everything written contains such a strong punch--nothing is wasted. While it seems as though it might be "easy" reading, I read this book very slowly, pouring over the pages and examining each illustration and re-reading and absorbing the words. It was such a different experience reading this book, but I highly recommed it. In terms of the actual book--the first half of the book was fantastic for me. There were a few sections of her teenaged years (I presume in the second volume?) that I didn't care for as much, but in the end the book came back around full-circle and ended strongly. Not only did I come to care so much for Marji, but I also learned so much about the Iranian culture and the revolution. This book has it all!

What do you think about graphic novels? What would you recommend next? Have you seen the movie?

They've also read it: I=first volume; II=second volume; I and II=both reviewed separately; Complete=both reviewed together (like my review)
Valentina (Complete)
Joy (I)
Bethany (I and II)
Corinne (I)
Raidergirl3 (I and II)
Nymeth (Complete)
Dewey (II--but contains link to I)
Rhinoa (Complete)
Marg (II--but contains link to I)

26 comments:

bethany said...

yay!!! Glad you liked it :) I am curious what people will recommend to you next, I'll have to peek back!!

C. B. James said...

You've started with one of the best. Maus I and II are probably the only ones that may be better than Persepolis. I just read American Born Chinese which I enjoyed, but it's really a YA graphic novel. One of my favorites this year is The Invention Of Hugo Cabret which might be a graphic novel, maybe not. It's a wonderful hybrid, a 500 plus page picture book with words.

Nicola said...

Like you I keep saying I want to read this! I've just gone on over to my library's catalogue at put it on my library wishlist. This way I'll get to it sooner!

I'm really into Rick Geary's graphic novels. He's written a set of true Victorian murder mysteries and they are wonderful.

Dar said...

Like you Trish I have been reading numerous reviews on graphic novels and how everyone likes them. I have yet to pick one up. I guess I really should and see what it is I'm missing. Glad you enjoyed it.

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

I haven't even heard of this one. I just read my very first graphic novel this year, so you're not very far behind. I'll be reading Rapunzel's Revenge this next month and am really looking forward to it.

Carrie K. said...

I'm new to graphic novels, too. I loved Persepolis. I also enjoyed The Complete Maus - and I second the recommendation of The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

Sarah said...

I've just seen the movie of Persepolis and thought it was wonderful. The animation made from her drawings was clear and expressive, there was clever use of music throughout and it had a strong sense of humour. I was similarly reluctant to read a graphic novel but will be seeking this one out now.

Marg said...

I want to see the movie! I am so glad that you enjoyed this!

Myrthe said...

I loved this book, though it had its weaker sections! I so want to watch the movie now. The link in my name will take you to the review of The Complete Persepolis on my blog.

Nymeth said...

yay! I'm so happy you enjoyed this one so much, Trish. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I've heard great things about it. And since Satrapi wrote the script and co-directed it herself, I bet it's a really good adaptation.

As for what to read next, I recommend Maus! That's another book that tends to dispel any sort of prejudice against graphic novels by showing just what the medium is capable of. It's also a really, really great book.

Laura said...

I'm glad to hear you liked your first graphic novel so much! Maybe I should try one too!

Stephanie said...

OK, OK, you guys have convinced me! I haven't yet read a graphic novel, but seems like this one is now calling my name! Thanks for such an informative post!

Ted said...

I've also been reluctant about graphic novels (like I'm cheating or something). But I read The Invention of Hugo Cabret and was totally crazy about it. You've piqued my interest on this one too.

Rhinoa said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this so much. I have ordered it for my mum who hasn't read a graphic novel before (I have ordered The Complete Maus as well). I hope you read many more.

Corinne said...

I have finally seen the movie! If you love the book, I think you'll like the movie. It was surreal how similar they were, especially since it was subtitled I had to read the whole thing anyway :)

Trish said...

*Bethany - I was reluctant, I'll admit, but I loved it! Have you read any others?

*CB - I've heard good things about all of those and I think I'll go for Maus next.

*Nicola - Ha ha! Good! I don't know why I keep saying that I want to do something and then drag it out. Its like buying a book I am dying to read just to let it sit on the shelf for a few months. Thanks for the suggestion! I'll have to check Geary out.

*Dar - I would really recommend this one! The second half changes dramatically in tone and really was a completely different book, but both are very good. I hope you can pick it up soon!

*Natasha - Persepolis is a really beautiful story. Next time you're at the library, read through the first chapter and see what you think. I'm betting you'll come home with it. :)

*Carrie - I think that Maus will be my next one; I've heard such amazing things about it! It sounds like your graphic novel experience has been great as well!

*Sarah - I would love to see the movie! Once I picked up the book and realized it was a movie I can remember a bit of buzz about it a few years ago. I hope you like the book as well!

Trish said...

*Marg - I'd love to see the movie as well! I wonder how easy it is to track down?

*Nymeth - Maus it is--the masses have spoken. :) I actually looked for it when I was at the store but I didn't immediately see it in the graphic novel section (although Persepolis was in non-fiction memoirs). I noticed that you read A League of Extraordinary Gentlemen recently and I saw that at the store--did you like it? Is the movie based on the graphic novels or visa versa? I'm always looking for something my husband might be interested in.

*Laura - It was a very different experience, but I really did enjoy it. I'd be happy to bring it up if you'd like to browse through it to see if you're interested! Just let me know!

*Stephanie - Ha ha! I was almost kicking and screaming but so far my first experience was a really good one. Like I told Natasha, if you happen upon it at the bookstore or library, read through the first chapter and see if you might like it. I bet you do.

*Ted - This one is really good and I don't feel it was cheating at all (although I've thought that before). It is over 300 pages long and it took me a bit of work to get through it. Maybe because the experience was so different? I'll have to check out The Invention of Hugo Cabret as well--thanks for the suggestion!

*Rhinoa - Well, thanks to everyone (including you) for the suggestions and (lets be honest) push. :) I'm sure I will continue to read them--I love different experiences.

*Corinne - Ha! I guess I should have known it was subtitled but I didn't really think about it. Is it originally in French? I really need to see the movie!

J.S. Peyton said...

The movie is amazing! I loved every minute of it, but I still haven't read any of the books. (I keep meaning too... :)

I've just begun reading graphic novels earlier this year. I think you should also check out "Fun Home: A Family Tragiocomic." It's a different kind of coming of age story, but just as good!

Nymeth said...

Trish, I did like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but not quite as much as I was expecting to. I'll explain why properly when I answer the questions tomorrow. The books came before the movie, and apparently the movie is not at all a faithful adaptation. I think I read somewhere that Alan Moore really disliked it, and so did fans of the books.

Bellezza said...

That is an hilarious opening run-on. Are you SURE you're grateful? :) Apparently, I need to read more blogs (!) because I've never heard of this one before. Also, I've only read three graphic novels, and those were manga. I like how you gave credit to all those reviewers before you; you are the sweetest blogger, Trish, for always remembering to do that.

valentina said...

I'm so glad *we* made you pick it up!
I enjoyed everything in it, even her teenage years in Austria, and her sad return to Iran. I'm sure I will reread it one day, it was a great experience.

Trish said...

*JS - If you've read other graphic novels and liked them I would recommend this one (although what do I know--this is my first!). :) After hearing everyone's praise, I have to see the movie now!

*Nymeth - Thanks for the feedback. We saw the movie when it came out (and I think hubby actually bought it but I haven't seen it since then). We both enjoyed it, but this was before I knew anything about graphic novels so I didn't realize it was an adaptation. I look forward to hearing what you thought.

*Bellezza - Sometimes I'm too lazy to look up all the blogs and list them. :) And I don't know if anyone actually uses the links, but oh well. And yes--I think you'd really like this one!

Trish said...

*Valentina - I think we must have read this one around the same time because when I came home from vacation your review was in my reader. But looking up all the links really made me realize how many times I said that I wanted to read this one. I did the same thing with Gaiman! Have you seen the movie?

valentina said...

oh yeah I guessed that :P but it's "we" as the "other bloggers" that I meant:)
I watched the movie and I liked it but I obviously made all the comparisons that I usually make and that made me spoil the viewing a bit...

Kim L said...

I just watched the movie version of this the other night! It seems we have similar timing in our reading (well in this case viewing).

Trish said...

*Valentina - I tend to do that as well with movies. I'm wondering if I should put a little space between the two so that I can appreciate it as its own entity.

*Kim - Too funny! Have you read the book?