Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi: Book Review

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Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return
Title: Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return
Series Number: 2


In Persepolis 2, we pick back up with Marjane as she arrives in Austria. She has a hard time adjusting to life in Europe, and after a few years she finds herself back in Iran. Then she feels that she doesn’t fit in anywhere. To paraphrase, she’s too Iranian for Europe and too European for Iran.

My Review:

Review posted on GoodReads on September 1, 2009

Overall, I enjoyed this more than the first book. I missed her frequent conversations with God, but I found it easier to relate to troubled teenage Marjane than activist child Marjane. I was busy playing with Barbies when I was ten, not trying to figure out how I could sneak out to political rallies that frequently ended in shooting. Anyway, I felt that since Marjane had lived in Europe at this point, she had some interesting observations to make about how Westerners treat Iranians and the differences in our cultures. It seems that she’s able to see the good and bad on both sides. As an American, it was interesting for me to see what she thinks of Americans and Brits and to see how she thinks the Iranian government manages to keep such strict control over the people.

Marjane herself could be a little whiny, but she is a teenager–I managed to overlook it. I did love the way she would just speak her mind sometimes. I would always catch myself holding my breath as I turned the pages, waiting to see if she had gone too far and really gotten herself in trouble this time. Her grandmother was great. She was always good for a laugh, or at least a healthy dose of reality.

There was a different translator for this volume, and I didn’t like this translation as well. I can see that it would be hard to find a way to work with at least three languages and effectively say what Satrapi was trying to say. But I really think there should have been a way to do it without including the frequent footnotes. Easy for me to say, right?

Again, I felt like she just stopped when she felt like it at the end. There was a resolution, but when I turned the last page and realized it was the last page, I was left thinking, “What?!?! But what happened after that?”

I recommend this for anyone who wants to continue the story that began in Persepolis, and also to anyone who wants a little more understanding of Iranian culture. Don’t let the graphic novel format put you off.

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1 Comment

  1. I haven’t read the second volume, but I enjoyed the first one. I’ll have to remember to read this one, too.

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