Featured book: Persepolis: [the story of a childhood] by Marjane Satrapi
Persepolis : [the story of a childhood]Teen Book Club:
Our latest book we’ve been reading in our Teen Dystopian book club is not fiction. In fact, it is a unique, non-fiction, illustrated graphic novel that is a coming of age story about a young girl who grows up in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution, and during Iran’s war with Iraq. Perhaps Marjane, Persepolis’ rambunctious protagonist, would be precocious and rebellious no matter where she had grown up; the fact that she listens to Iron Maiden in an intolerant regime where music considered to cause any joy or excitement was forbidden puts the stakes up significantly for her. As one of the teens in our book club noted, Marjane, in a lot of ways, might remind one of Tris Prior in the Divergent series. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind, even though in the world she inhabits it can be quite dangerous to do so.
And like Tris Prior, or Katniss Everdeen (unlikely hero of the Hunger Games), Marjane’s story is one of bravery, displacement, and overcoming overwhelming odds in difficult circumstances. It is even more powerful because it is a true story, and an incredible memoir. The second book, Persepolis 2 : [story of a return], continues her story, including leaving Iran for Europe and coming back, until she leaves Iran permanently at the age of 24. Persepolis (both books combined) became an animated film in 2007, written and directed by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, based on Satrapi’s original story and illustrations.
Why read this?
In part inspired by some of the conversations we were having in our teen Dystopian Book Club, and in part because of the current events happening around the series of protests, demonstrations and government changes in the Middle East and Northern African (often referred to as the ‘Arab Spring’), I decided this would be an important book for us to read in our book club. At the heart of Persepolis is the story of a young person having the courage to be who they are and of growing up in difficult circumstances. So far in our book club, we have read Veronica Roth’s Divergent (often called the next Hunger Games by critics) and Son, the last of Lois Lowry’s Giver quartet. If you are a teen, and would you care to join us, we meet again May 22, at 7:30pm.
Did you know: Persepolis’ title is a reference to the ancient city of Persepolis. It was founded in 518 B.C., and was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire.Scene from Persepolis : Marjane gets caught buying music