100 Books in 2011 Review: Persepolis

I’ve decided graphic novels count towards the 100 books challenge, which is good, because this gave me a chance to catch up a bit this week. Still behind target though; last week was week 13 and I should have read 26 books by the end of it. I’ve only read 22. At some point, I’m going to have to read some really short books. Maybe some more graphic novels.

The March book for my work book club was Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. Having seen the film (and enjoyed it), I was looking forward to this.

It is the memoir of an Iranian woman, dealing with her childhood in Iran around the time of the revolution i.e. the late seventies and the eighties. She is the child of Marxists intellectuals and the great-granddaughter of the last Emperor. The book shows how her life was affected by the increasing restrictions on freedom of speech and movement. For a few months she lives in Austria, which provides different challenges.

It’s marvellous. It is so moving, both sad and funny. Satrapi reveals the things that had the greatest impact and is brutally honest with herself and her actions. Sometimes she leaves the emotion quite raw and at other times she gently pokes fun at herself. Given that there are so few words, she uses them to great effect.

This was lovely. And educational. So far this year book club has been swinging from one extreme to another – from amazing to turgid and back to amazing again this month. Persepolis is highly recommended.