Book Report: Persepolis

I’m not sure where to start on this one other than to say go buy it and read it now. (I know I’m probably years behind the curve on this discovery, but nonetheless…) Or see if I’ve taken it back to the library and get it from there.

It’s just perfect in so many ways.

It really plays to the strengths of the graphic novel medium: the drawings are simple black and white drawings, but that just seems to let the nuance and depth of the story and its telling come out.

It not only puts a very personal and human face on what growing up in Iran in the 70′s and 80′s must have been like, but it also was very illuminating on a lot of political and historical points that I didn’t really understand. And the medium again helps out with this: I don’t think I would have gotten as much out of a more prosaic or direct treatment of the subject. The fact that it’s a comic book makes it seem like it’s going down easier, but then it twists and gets all complicated and tragic and funny, all at the same time.

It’s also as good a portrayal of a revolution as I’ve read. I can imagine a great college English course on “literature of the revolution” featuring Persepolis, Doctor Zhivago, A Tale of Two Cities, Marat/Sade, The Master and Margarita, and… others? I feel like I’m definitely missing something from various Central American revolutions. It portrays that process where temporary upheavals become normal and permanent, as one aspect of life after the other is turned on its head.

Anyway, as we’re rapidly approaching a point where something’s going to have to give in the current situation with Iran, I can’t imagine a better time to get a more complicated and realistic perspective of the country as more than a bunch of religious nuts with nuclear aspirations.