Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Complete Persepolis - Graphic Novel Review

I decided that it's high time that I get a book review on here again, so I'm going to try to do a review of a graphic novel that I received for Christmas from a non-Christian relative. Since it's been awhile since I read this book (and I don't really want to read through it again - you'll soon see why), I'm just hoping that I'll remember the things I want to point out. Note to self: Start taking notes on the things you're going to review.

The Complete Persepolis is a French autobiographical graphic novel (I read it in English, of course) about a girl named Marji who lives in Iran. Her story is interesting in that she is a much different character than I've ever read about before. I can understand her annoyance at having to wear the veil, but I can't quite get her whole rebel attitude.

As a child, Marji reads books from people like Karl Marx (which I also find a little hard to envision, but I do have a friend who read books like Anna Karenina when she was nine, so I guess it's possible). As a little girl, Marji compares Karl Marx to God. While, yes, this is a little child, I still find this sort of blasphemous.

The most interesting part of the book was when Marji was little, her parents went to protests, and her uncle was arrested. I don't have too much of a problem with this portion of the book - it's just the later part of the book, as you will see below.

The  problem starts when Marji moves to France for her safety (and later on because she doesn't feel at home at home), this country having a western culture, which changes her ideas. She goes home with a friend from Christmas, and, most unfortunately, this girl is one of those bad companions that leads Marji astray into the big problems that I am just about to tell you about. Marji has a few disastrous relationships. And then this is where this book starts falling to pieces and I put my foot down.

Marji goes to bed with her boyfriend and is disappointed because "nothing happens". She feels like she isn't truly loved. Her next boyfriend cheats on her (which she finds out when she goes to his house with fresh bread early in the morning to surprise him and finds him sleeping with another girl). Marji at first goes to a boarding school run by nuns, but she leaves after one of the nuns gets angry with her and Marji insults the nuns. She moves from place to place, at one time boarding in a house with eight homosexuals.

Finally, she ends up in the streets, hungry for truth, falling so sick that she almost dies. It seems as if God was showing Marji who was boss (as this is an autobiography of the author). I would perhaps forgive all the things that had happened if it wasn't for what happens when Marji moves home.

Back at home in Iran, she has a more "stable" boyfriend. By the time she drops her bag at art school and she openly states that she "sleeps with her boyfriend" when another girl discovers the Pill in her bag, I am ready to agree with the shocked Iranian girls who call her a slut. She finally does marry her boyfriend...but then they divorce when their "differences" become obvious.

What really disgusted me, though, was the crude joke that Marji's male friend tells her that was disgusting, shocking, and vulgar.

Now you're probably going to wonder why I even continued reading this book. The answers are A: I wanted to finish reading this so I could warn people about this book in my review. B: The bad parts were scattered throughout the book with wide spaces between them and I was fooled into thinking that there was only one or two bad parts and so I thought I could just gloss over them. Especially, there was that one scene where I thought Marji was going to turn a new leaf, but she didn't.

There were some good values, I guess. There is one scene where Marji has a man arrested to make the police avoid from seeing her lipstick, then laughing about it - her grandmother reproves her sternly. But all in all, Marji falls into error and it is not shown to be evil.

So, what are my ending thoughts? Stay away from this book.

Alyianna's rating: 6 out 10


James The Movie Reviewer said...

I have seen about 30 seconds of the animated film and now I am glad that I did not watch any more of it. Thank you for the warning about this, I will be sure not to read or watch it. Surprised you gave the graphic novel a 6/10 though since you really didn't like it.


Alyianna Baggins said...

Glad that I warned someone about it. :)

Yeah, I'm really still not too sure about the rating. I guess I felt that giving it really low was kind of harsh, but I'm just not sure. :-/ What do you think about it? I'm not too good at rating, anyway...

Anonymous said...

grow up sweetie the world holds a lot more horrific things than an off color have missed the point completely of this outstanding coming of age novel set in the strife and conflict that is Iran..were you equally as put off by the fact that Ann Frank lived with a boy in the same hiding place while evading the Nazis???..Christ says open your heart and hear...he who is without sin.....

Alyianna Baggins said...

Christ also says to follow Him and be wary for sin. The more sin is talked about without being labelled as sin, the more young people think that it can't be wrong, and they start doing it. And, no, I didn't know that about Anne Frank but, yes, I am equally put off by that fact.