I’ve never been the greatest fan of graphic novels. Ever since an ex of mine insisted I read them instead of the books I liked I’ve been a bit put off. But Persepolis was recommended by two friends during a failed attempt at starting a book club and I just had to get over my misgivings to have a go at reading it. Again, this was one of my picks for the Diverse-A-Thon so I’m trying to think critically along that perspective too.
I loved this book on two fronts. As a former English Lit and Politics student (my degree was in my eyes a perfect mix but it’s surprise you how few universities offered the combination) any book that entwines political commentary into a narrative is gold for me. So Persepolis‘ focus on revolution, class struggle and the personal vs the political is fascinating to me.
I think it’s also one of those important books that highlights the part western countries have had in the turmoil in the Middle East. I’m British, my country has played a major part in sewing the seeds of many inner conflicts within other nations (to put it politely) and I’m glad that there are books out there that will make me uncomfortable about that. Those books are important. We shouldn’t forget.
But it’s also a book that goes beyond that. It goes beyond the western view of Islamic fundamentalism- shows us how wrong that stereotype is when compared to how the overwhelming majority of Muslim people live and think- and I think that’s important too. Because although it’s something that I feel I know, our media is so biased that we’re never going to be able to appreciate the struggle between the private and the public in places like Iran. It made me think about how much I take for granted in Europe.
It also turns out that there are graphic novels I don’t find impenetrable (autobiographies, too). The illustrations are simple, but show so much. It was an easy read in terms of page turning, but still packed a lot of punch.