Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi is number two on the list of most challenged books of 2014. This memoir, written in graphic novel format, is about Satrapi's childhood growing up during the Islamic revolution in Iran. According to the American Library Association, the reasons for the challenges to this book include: gambling, offensive language, and political viewpoint, among other things.
The story begins when Satrapi is 10 years old and she and her friends are made to wear veils for the first time. Although religious, she and her family are very modern and she had been attending a French school where boys and girls attended classes together. With the revolution comes rules, strict religious education, and separation of the boys and girls.
Satrapi’s story is eye-opening and brings the reader into the heart and mind of a young girl who, like any girl around the world, is struggling to fit in and find herself. But she is also dealing with a massive change to her culture and her daily life. There’s a great deal of violence and terror in this story, along with the issues mentioned above. I would not share it with my own kids who are 8 and 11. But that doesn’t mean that it should be banned from school libraries. This memoir would actually be an excellent addition to a lesson on Iranian history for older kids.
The style of the book, done as a graphic novel, is unique for this sort of memoir. It’s not like a typical graphic novel, though. The drawings are black and white and simplistic. This helps to soften some of the harsher images, such as that of a man who is tortured and cut to pieces (yes, it is violent).
I honestly didn’t love Persepolis, but it educated me about Iranian history and the impact the Islamic revolution had on the people who lived there. And it’s a quick read given the format. I highly recommend Persepolis to anyone who wants to understand more about this time in history through the eyes of a young girl. I will definitely share it with my kids when they get a bit older.
My Rating: 4/5
Thanks to Sheila at Book Journey for hosting a roundup of Banned Books Week posts each year! Head over to see more reviews and posts about books that have been challenged.
This review was written based on a copy of Persepolis that I acquired through Paperback Swap. This post includes Amazon Affiliate links. If you purchase something using my link, I will receive a very small commission but your price does not change.