Friday, March 5, 2010

Persepolis II: The Story of a Return by Marjane Satrapi

In Persepolis II, Marjane’s parents send her to Vienna where she lives by herself and grows up quickly. It is an extremely difficult time for Marjane. After four years, she returns to Iran at age 18 with emotional baggage and conflicted feelings. In this poignant sequel, Marjane is a woman of two worlds, feeling western and Iranian but not fully accepted by either culture.

Persepolis II highlights the subjugation and chauvinism exuded by the state that makes it hard for free thinkers to live in Iran. Although the war with Iraq is over, fear is ever prevalent as Marjane and her friends dodge the “guardians of the Islamic revolution.” Marjane struggles to find companions with similar ideologies and often feels alone. This text shows how precious our freedom of speech is as we watch Marjane become paranoid about how she speaks, dresses and draws advertisements for work.

Book two is much more serious as Marjane deals with the burdens of adulthood. She turns to radical friends, smoking, drinking and relationships in an attempt to find a place and purpose for herself. It is her strong will that keeps her going, but even her will wavers when she experiences a severe depression leading to an attempted suicide. As she realizes the extent of the state’s control over her life, Marjane’s perception of and hope in her country changes. I found Marjane’s story to be captivating. She has lead a challenging life to say the least. Her memoir allows readers a peek into a very conservative and foreign culture and how many people there continue to hope for change and peace.
Publisher: Pantheon, 2004     Recommended Age: 15 and up
Source: IC Public Library       Pages: 187
Rating: 4 Stars

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