After a week in balmy South Padre Island, I’ll tell you this much: it’s been hard getting back into the groove. I don’t know if it’s from driving the 24 hours back to NE or adjusting to it not being 80 degrees with palm trees and the smell of tacos bistec in the air; both of which were heavenly, I’ll add. It’s been a bigger shift than years past coming back from spring break. The time change is simply the cherry on top.
However, I did get the chance to sneak in an incredibly eye-opening book during my tropical Texan adventures. Possibly the only perk to riding in a car for so long is that I had oodles of free time on my hands, and Persepolis filled those time slots quite well.
This was my first YA graphic novel to tackle, and whoa was it a doozy to begin with. Persepolis, which is written by the incredible Marjane Satrapi, is based on her youth and the unique experience of growing up in revolutionary Iran. She is nine years old when the Iranian Revolution of 1979 takes place, and to say her world gets rocked is a phenomenal understatement. Though she has grown up considerably well-off, the overthrow of the last Shah of Iran (which she and her parents are a part of–they are progressive in many ways) and the takeover of the Islamic fundamentalists test her family and her faith. This book is not one for the weak–it deals with the subjects of killing, betrayal, social and political revolution, and religion through the lens of a girl coming of age in the late 70s and early 80s. Marji is rebellious, however, and does many things that could land her in jail–possibly even executed; things as simple as not wearing a head veil correctly or getting caught with music could send a person to death’s door. Can you imagine a world like that?
This book was challenging not only in that it was something I was totally unfamiliar with, but also because it was a completely different experience from anything I have read before. It’s important to take into account that this is an autobiographical graphic novel, and Marji has experienced all of this. Marji goes through and witnesses things that no child should ever have to go through, and I found myself in shock time and time again with the horrors Marji and so many other Iranians faced during this tumultuous time. Though it made me sad and made me question some of my views on the Middle East, I found myself feeling such an admiration for Marji, her family, and so many other families that have been put under the scrutinous eye of radical society.
If you want to challenge yourself, please read this. If you want to experience another perspective, please read this. If you want to grow as a reader and human being, please read this. Though I was complaining about my back aching from sitting in a car for hours on end, somehow my troubles didn’t seem so bad compared to the written troubles laying on my lap.
I got out of my comfort zone this week and it paid off. Will you do the same?