Week 9 was finished just time with Marjane Satrapi’s coming-of-age memoir, THE COMPLETE PERSEPOLIS, about growing up in Iran in the early 80s, at the height of social change, opression and war. What’s unique about her story, aside from the fact her story is in itself very unique, is the medium through which it’s told–graphically.

A graphic novel was a first for me. My knowledge of graphic novels was limited and had me thinking of superhero stories geared at teenaged boys. Never would I have guessed that the same technique could so effectively tell a story of a young girl navigating her way through a world where freedoms are being stripped from everyone and newer, harsher rules are being placed on Iranian women, simply because they are women. Satrapi was a rebellious, spitfire of a young woman. Raised by parents who questioned the world around them and bucked convention, they helped raise a woman who did the same, all the while respecting herself and others in the process. But the world they live in, under conservative and opressive religious fanatacism, proves to be too much, Satrapi’s family must decide whether the teenaged Marjane should stay in Iran or continue her education in another country.

In addition to telling a compelling story, Satrapi is a talented graphic artist. Her “comic book” drawings were exceptional and able to convey the moments of fear, anger, sadness and true happiness that she, her family and her friends felt and, in turn, I felt when reading it. Her personal story resulted in the making of a motion picture that has garnered much critical acclaim, and one I am looking forward to adding to my Netflix queue. I am also looking forward to another turn at this emerging genre.

Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Graphic Novel
Pages: 352