In 1984, Marjane flees fundamentalism and the war with Iraq to begin a new life in Vienna. This review contains *spoilers*.
It’s been so long since I’ve had that feeling of wanting to read a story long into the night, but Persepolis brought it back.
I felt this indescribable pull from the very first page and I just knew that this book was going to hold a special place in my heart. Persepolis feel so personally important to me that I’m stunned they didn’t appear into my life until these past few days.
Everything featured within; leaving, moving, coming-of-age, family relationships, motherly love— was just captured so personally well.
I really, really missed Marji’s family (especially her mother) at the start of this volume. I kept hoping for her to talk about or with her mother.
But the conversations she had with Julie were also pretty interesting to read about.
This book had surprisingly many laugh out loud moments when Marji started out in Vienna.
And the beauty of this story, for me, was that one moment you’ll be laughing, and the next your laughter will turn to tears.
For instance, when she finally got the message that her mother was coming to visit:
Watching Marjane grow and accumulate on her own was honestly both heartbreaking and heartwarming.
I’m in tears…again.
The time she spent with her mother made me feel that more closer to both of them:
The love they hold for each other punctured me deeply. And it made her departure that more painful.
From there we follow Marji’s journey living and working on her own. And we get introduced to great and not so great (Markus) characters along the way.
Svetlana was a great surprise.
But Markus… seriously, how insensitive can one person be??
I was so angry when he had the nerve to say, “it’s not what you think…”
And everything that went on afterwards left me speechless: from sleeping on the streets of cold-wintery Vienna, to returning to Iran and still feeling helpless, to not knowing how to share everything that went on during the 4 years she spent away from her family, and then the road to recovery.
She went through so much in the span of four years, and it made me that more upset when people took advantage of her situation.
But Marjane allows her past to weigh heavily on her until she finds some like-minded friends, falls in love, and begins studying art at a university.
At her university Marji said the following that’s been on my mind ever since:
I loved this volume more both because I saw Marji coming of age and also because Persepolis’ depiction of the struggles of growing up was raw, honest, and incredibly illuminating.
This book opened up my eyes and gave me a new perspective, and I am now forever grateful.
And then all too soon the storyline came to an end and I was left with eyes full of tears (both happy and sad).
It was brilliant, poignant, memorable and just utterly fascinating.