Persepolis 2, by Marjane Satrapi
Persepolis the First was touching. Persepolis the Second was not. The teen-aged Marjane is sent to Vienna where she is bounced from place to place by both circumstance and her own big mouth. Marjane, abandoned and isolated, turns to drugs and questionable friends and lovers to get through this time. Though she is apparently bright, she barely gets through school. After she catches her boyfriend cheating on her, she spends three months on the street and then returns to Iran. Once in Iran, it really gets jolly and fun. Marjane is depressed. She attempts suicide. There are some ups, but a lot of downs. I won’t list them all and spoil it for everyone else, but REALLY!
All of this bad, sad, and terrible stuff is going on, and I didn’t feel anything. Nothing. Maybe it’s because a lot of the sadness was caused by her own actions. (It should be noted that I generally have a low tolerance for stupid teenagers.) Maybe it’s because it was told in a detached way. Maybe it’s because I’m heartless. In any case, it didn’t feel personal. It didn’t feel as though the events in the book happened to the author. I didn’t relate to Marjane, and I didn’t sympathize with her. Also, the graphic element in this book didn’t really add anything for me. I don’t know. This book just left me cold.
A couple things did work for me, though. Marjane turns to reading at lonely times in her life, and remarks that “one must education oneself.” True. True. One other item rang true to me: when Marjane gets to Austria, one of her first purchases was scented laundry detergent. It wasn’t available in war-torn Iran. She mentions that even today she keeps a dozen or so boxes of scented detergent in her house.
I wish there had been a few more of those personal moments in the book.
Persepolis 2, by Marjane Satrapi [rating:2]