Well, it has been awhile since a book made me so angry.
This was such a drastic change from Persepolis 1, I couldn't believe I was reading about the same person!
- I really, really loved Persepolis 1. It was poignant, heartbreaking and educational. It had a smart, intelligent and strong heroine, who asked the right questions and had a heart in the right place.
- I don't know where that person went in Persepolis 2, for instead there was a girl who lost all of her morals and kept making horrible life decisions. Again, and again and again, And it would have been fine, we all are humans, but the thing is - in the book I didn't feel like she learned or took anything from her hardships at all. If I wanted to see people making bad choices and becoming vegetables due to their drug addictions, I'd just watch TV.
I can definitely applaud Marjane for her honesty, and for putting all of her flaws out there, but I also don't understand the point of it? What lesson was she trying to teach? Persepolis 1 contained history - I learned so much about Iranian people, the revolution, the oppression. But in this book, there was very little of that. It was mostly about her growing up and trying to fit in, which for her meant to do everything that everybody else did. And I just couldn't comprehend how a girl, who was raised to be so smart and educated, could make any of those decisions.
On the back cover of the book, there's a praise that says :
"Every revolution needs a chronicler like Satrapi
Well, if chronicling a revolution means describing how many drugs she used, how many cigarettes she smoked, how many parties she went to and how everybody else around her was horribly unfair to her and how she, and only she was the victim - then I don't want to know about that kind of revolution.
What made me the most angry was how she portrayed herself as a victim every single time. Sure, her life wasn't easy, or pretty - but it was because of her own bad decisions. She wanted everybody to pity her for her life, while she was the one of the few who escaped the war. She was sent to Europe to better her life, but instead she buried it.
I also couldn't stand how demeaning she was to other people - she criticized everybody - some she called fat behind their back (the first time she saw her new landlord she called her fat and a horse face, just because the woman was unattractive - sure, the woman turned out to be mean, but it doesn't give you right to judge and laugh at ones appearances), some she judged because of their lack of intelligence, some she judged because of their looks. And the worst part came, when she purposely lied and condemned that poor man on the street to save herself. I've never read about a most selfish person.
Also remarks like "if there were more fun things to do, I'd never have read as many books as I did" and "the first marriage is just a reversal before the second one" just didn't sit well with me. If you are writing a book, then don't say that books are the last resort, only if you have nothing else better to do - no self respecting bookworm will agree with you. And just because your marriage didn't work, doesn't mean that you have the right to come up with generalized statements like that.
Being progressive in ones thoughts doesn't mean that you have the right to be demeaning to other people's thoughts.
There were few things that I liked - I liked some of her views on the world and how she explained some of the ridiculous customs and rules that were, and still to this day burden the women of Iran.
I should have dnf'd it, I know, but it was slow at work and it was the only book I had with me so I just kept plowing through it.
I still absolutely recommend Persepolis 1, but this second edition didn't teach me anything.
Freelance BETA reader.