While I loved reading Persepolis 1: The Story of a Childhood, I was not as impressed with Marjane Satrapi’s continued memoir, Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return. Part of the problem was that while I liked the young girl striving to find herself, I no longer liked the angst-ridden teenager narrating the story of her foolish mistakes.
Persepolis 2 seemed to have two parts: one part of Marji living by herself in Austria, skipping classes, doing drugs, and otherwise feeling sorry for herself, and one part Marji returning to Iran and coming to terms with the challenging political situation and social repression that women face in that country. I liked the second part of Persepolis 2 much more than the first because it educated me on the environment women had to live in even in the late 1980s in Iran. While I certainly appreciated the story of her return to Iran and I was somewhat interested in her view of the challenges to a 20-year-old woman educated in the West suddenly thrust back in to a repressive environment, I honestly didn’t like her as a person. I was disappointed because I did like the young girl in Persepolis 1 who thought she was a prophet and longed to find her place with God and in her world. I realize every young teenager makes mistakes and I’m not criticizing that; I’m just sorry I bothered to read about it.
Persepolis 2, as a graphic novel, was intriguing, much like Persepolis 1 was. However, since I would never pick up a memoir of a teenager randomly wandering around Austria, I would never have picked up this book had it not been a graphic novel. When I say I didn’t like it, I say I didn’t like the story (i.e., her life), not that I didn’t like the way it was presented.
Ultimately, Persepolis 2 was not my type of memoir. It may be for you.