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Before I get to the good stuff (i.e., the book review), I feel compelled to offer a brief disclaimer about my reviews.  When I discuss a book, I make no effort whatsoever to be highbrow and intellectual.  Whimsey Pie is too light-hearted and chill for that kind of nonsense.  Ultimately, I read for pleasure and emotional satisfaction.  Cognitive stimulation is always appreciated but is not usually my primary motivation for picking up a book.  As you can guess, then, my reviews are fluffy and based on my feelings about and reactions to the style of writing and the story itself.  There will be no in-depth discussions of theme(s), setting, character development, symbolism, etc., etc., etc. This is meant to be fun! You’ve been warned – no whining allowed.

Now, let’s get down to business.

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (Persepolis, #1-2)

{via goodreads }

For the first book of The Eclectic Reader Challenge, I chose Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi.  This book fulfills the Graphic Novel requirement of the reading challenge.  Even though it is my first experience with a graphic novel, I have a feeling it may be a bit unusual for the genre.  It is a witty, poignant, and often disturbing memoir of Marjane’s life in Tehran, Iran during the Islamic Revolution and war with Iraq in the early 1980’s.  (Marjane is 12 to 14 years old at the time.)  Minimalist black and white drawings, also created by Marjane, accompany the text and perfectly compliment the content and feel of the book.

It took me less than an hour to read Persepolis – deceptively easy reading that dishes out heavy stuff to digest.  I consider the return on my investment of time to be quite substantial.  As equal parts history lesson, autobiography, and commentary on the dark side of human nature and existence, this little powerhouse packs quite an unexpected wallop.  Marjane’s voice is so authentic and original.  I laughed out loud, became so angry I wanted to throw the book across the room, and cried. That’s covering a lot of ground in an hour, don’t you think?  I couldn’t help rooting for this smart, funny, and slightly rebellious girl as she struggles to remain true to herself among the restrictions, turmoil, and terror of Iran’s religion-infused and deadly political power struggle.

Some quotes about the book from sources who hold more sway than I do:

A brilliant and unusual graphic novel.  ~ Vogue

Prescient…Unexpected…Totally unique and utterly fascinating.  ~Time

One of the freshest and most original memoirs of our day.  [Satrapi’s] is a voice calling out to the rest of us, reminding us to embrace this fervent child’s desire that human dignity reign supreme.   ~Los Angeles Times

Persepolis is one of the most unusual coming of age stories I have ever read.  I highly, highly recommend it.   5/5 stars.

By the way, I think the point of this Eclectic Reader Challenge is to expose participants to the charms of genres we would normally overlook.  Graphic novels would be that kind of genre for me.  Since reading Persepolis, however, I’ve discovered two more graphic novels that I’m confident I would enjoy.  I’ll let you know what I think when I get around to reading them.  (I’ve read both of the original books already.)  They are:

  • Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel adapted and illustrated by Hope Larson
  • Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children: The Graphic Novel by Ransom Riggs

My progress in The Eclectic Reader Challenge:

  • Award Winning
  • True Crime (Non Fiction)
  • Romantic Comedy
  • Alternate History Fiction
  • Graphic Novel – Persepolis - by Marjane Satrapi  5/5 stars
  • Cozy Mystery Fiction
  • Gothic Fiction
  • War/Military Fiction
  • Anthology
  • Medical Thriller Fiction
  • Travel (Non Fiction)
  • Published in 2014
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