I’ve been meaning to read this one for ages; I first picked it up around when I got Fun Home (Alison Bechdel) and Maus (Art Spiegelman), but it takes time to get round to reading an autobiographical graphic novel, for me. It’s a different kind of reading, and for some reason it always takes way more of my attention than ordinary comics or ordinary non-fiction.
I think the first half, depicting Satrapi’s childhood, is actually the best part. The way the art compliments her childhood naivety, the particular view you get of the conflict coming from someone who was a child during it, all of this comes across really well. The latter half of the book is more about growing up in Iran, and less about just being in Iran, to me, and so it was less interesting, because a lot of the issues are shared between cultures. Although, for some people, that might be a revelatory thing to realise, so I’m not criticising the fact that Satrapi wrote about it — it just wasn’t as interesting for me.
I wanted to know more about Marjane’s mother, where she came from, how she formed her beliefs. Her father too, actually. Both of them sounded pretty wonderful, from Satrapi’s point of view, and that’s perhaps unexpected for the Western reader. I wish we’d got to know them a bit more through this, rather than as rather all-knowing, all-tolerating parental figures on a pedestal.