This book is much more than meets the eye, because although it seems to be just a graphic novel with its comic strip narration, it tells a real story-of the author's childhood in Iran during those critical years of their own revolution and war with Iraq in the 1980's. What "history" may have seemed confusing becomes vivid in Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis as she relates it from the perspective of individual, memorable events in her own life. We see that she is just like any other youngster growing up-at times she is a rebellious, independent spirit-at other times, a Valley-girl type interested in boys, music, the latest fashions. The world becomes smaller as we see the people in Marjane's world are the same as anywhere else-the same hopes, fears, laughter. When forced to wear the black veil, the girls in her class cavort and make fun with it; when her parents go to Turkey, they bring back rock band posters for her sewn into their coats. Another time, Marjane helps her mother throw out the wine her grandfather has distilled in their house when the secret police get wind of it. Yet this book has an important message: the resilience of human hope in the face of war and political repression is a powerful thing.
Recommended by Betsy Schroeder