#26 – Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Recently the subject of an education board controversy in the US, Persepolis is a graphic novel that really means something. The author, Satrapi, wrote this book with the sole intention of getting a point across about a dark time in a country’s history, and to do so she has had to use some adult language and images. It the mature themes of the book that caused the Chicago education board to consider dropping Persepolis from their school curriculum – something they backed down on after public outcry.

Persepolis part one is Satrapi’s autobiographical look at her childhood in Iran. This is a harsh look at the Islamic revolution in 1979 but it is told through the eyes of Satrapi as a child. Here she shares a point of view of an important historical event that you just can’t get anywhere else; it is like if you could see the events in Schindler’s list through the eyes of the (fictional) girl in the red coat. Part 2 centres on the author’s senior school years, this time set in Vienna.

If have followed this list from the beginning or if you have taken a glance at the top 100 list, you will have seen that I included Safe Area Gorazde on the list. I love a graphic novel that gives you a unique insight into a real life event. Sure, you could get as much information as you wanted from a textbook and it would probably be a lot less biased, but I think graphic novels are in a unique position because they can imbibe the story with emotion and humanity.

This and more is what Satrapi achieves in Persepolis. It is an important work not just in the comic book world, but across all fiction and nonfiction mediums. It is a book that will entertain you, but it will also add to the sum total of your knowledge and give let you look through the eyes of someone else into a world you might not know much about.

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