We don't limit learning-resistance to summer.Title: “Persepolis”

Author: Marjane Satrapi

Rank: 1,472

Blurb: “A memoir of growing up as a girl in revolutionary Iran, Persepolis provides a unique glimpse into a nearly unknown and unreachable way of life.” (Time)

Review: “We tried having the freshmen at our school read this book over the summer, thinking that they might have less resistance to a graphic novel than an onslaught of straight text. We forgot, of course, that they are freshmen and will resist all attempts to read/learn over the summer regardless.”

Customers Also Bought: “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” (Still in the Top 100! Go Team Zombie!)

Footnote: Time for our monthly Book Chat! Are you smarter than a high-school freshman?

Persepolis [Amazon]

Buy or Die [Stinque@Amazon kickback link]


I love, and by love I mean hate, that the most active discussion on the forum associated with the book is:

Did Jesus resurrect from the dead?

Can we discuss anything without bringing Jesus into it? ANYTHING??

On the graphic novel front, I re-read Watchmen before the movie came out. Why is no one looking at Marvel’s 1602 as a movie project?

Uh, I’m not prepared for the discussion today. But I am reading about an early primate fossil found in Germany. “The Link”. The picture looks like the Alien from the movies.

Gotta roll to church, then hanging with our house guest then killing time until fishing this afternoon. Hasta la vista.

I loved this, and was not expecting that. By the time I got to the end (I had the version that has parts 1 and 2 combined) I couldn’t imagine the story being told any other way than through the graphic novel format. Her pen-and-ink drawings that on first look appeared so simple conveyed so much of the story that she could keep the narrative sparse.

However, the sparseness also left for me so many questions that I wanted to know more about. I wanted to know a LOT more about Marjane’s mother and grandmother – they were the two most interesting characters, and the driving forces behind her independence and getting her out of the country as a teenager. I didn’t quite understand where her family got the money or connections to get her out of the country. The portrayal of her time in Vienna pre-high tech/continual communication brought back fond memories of traveling around pre-European Union Europe for months on end with minimal contact with my family. I also got to the end of of the story and was dying to find out what happened next after Marjane moved to Paris.

She shows a great deal of self-awareness but I was hoping for more self-examination of the implications of falsely accusing a man of harassing her and siccing the Revolutionary Guard on him. She writes about her grandmother’s disgust in her actions, but there is no reflection on the emotions she felt about her selfish act. Perhaps she still doesn’t want to go there and imagine what pain she caused him.

All in all, great choice Cynica!

@RomeGirl: No. Jaysus must be dragged unwillingly into discussions of everything from laundry to livestock to coming of age novels.
I really enjoyed this book. It was the first time I’d read a graphic novel (or in this case, memoir) and I was surprised at how much I liked the format.

@SanFranLefty: The use of graphics to flesh out the sparse narrative was also one of my favorite things. It is not a deice that lends itself terribly well to self reflection, however, because of its essentially visual nature–far better and portraying actions and reactions. She cold hav shown her imaginings of what consequences her actions had, I suppose, but I think she was trying to tell the story from the POV of her younger self. Perhaps including that incident, which shows her in a very bad light and for which she obviously feels shame, is an indication of how much she has reflected upon and regretted it. I learned a lit I didn’t know about Iran, and felt even more sympathy for the protesters, after reading this. The “it will be ok, it will be OK” was heartbreaking–to have one’s hopes of freedom from a horribly repressive regime dashed by the revolution’s degeneration into a theocracy. I saw a new book by her at the bookstore yesterday, one about an uncle who was a musician. Hope she will do future stories on her mom and grandmother, because I too found them the most interesting characters.

Update on present-day Iran: Al-Arabiyaa reports on the closed “trial” of 100 protest leaders who “confessed” under torture to plotting a velvet revolution with western countries.

@SanFranLefty: I really liked this format as well but what really struck me about the format was how well she used it to convey the range of emotions felt at the same time about events going on around her. For instance, the episode where she was caught by the female religious police and tried to talk her way out of it by claiming that the Michael Jackson button was actually Malcolm X. You get a sense of her fear but at the same time get a great laugh at the women’s expense and an adult culture (in the early 80s) that would be ok with Malcolm X but not Jackson.

@redmanlaw: I can send you my copy when Mr. SFL is done reading it. With such ridiculous small square footage in our urban cottage, I have learned to be brutal with all belongings, especially books. Nothing stays around here except the Jane Austen, David Sedaris, and John Irving books.

@Jamie Sommers: My favorite part of the scene with the MJ button was the dry explanatory text: “Back then, Michael Jackson was still black.” And she did a marvelous job of balancing those humorous moments with utterly serious ones, like the maid talking about her fourteen year-old son receiving a “key to heaven” from the military recruiters, or her friend falling to his death after their party is raided by the police. What I found most impressive (and it’s been a couple of years, so my memory is fuzzy, but the film, excellent as it was, didn’t seem to flesh this out as well) was her honesty about everything, whether it was her apprehension at meeting her childhood friend who’d since been confined to a wheelchair, or her at first glib attitude toward wrongly accusing a man of harassing her. She could have cherry-picked, and painted herself in a more positive light, but instead we get a full account.

Graphic novel=storyboard for movie=trash.

“Golly, wish I knew more about this and such and such as…” The reason for that is that the form cannot carry content. It can only carry ‘look’.

Never forget: A word is worth a thousand pictures.

Meanwhile I’m reading the new translation of Les Miserables done by Modern Library. A stunning, thrill-ride of trash-lit raised to high art. Gorgeous, astounding: fiction as Grand Opera: aka, literature.

Read a book. Spare your brain.

@Benedick: There you are! I was ready to send out a search party.

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