"When we're afraid, we lose all sense of analysis and reflection. Our fear paralyzes us. Besides, fear has always been the driving force behind all dictators' repression."
In this autobiographical graphic novel, the author tells of her life growing up in Tehran, Iran during the Islamic Revolution. It was originally published in four volumes from 2000 through 2003. The story begins when she is ten years old in 1980 and focuses on Marjane’s life with her family. There are many changes that she faces, such as having to wear a veil in public in the increase threat of being bombed. Marjane struggles to understand the difference between her life and home and the image she must portray while in public and tries to keep herself informed by reading books and participating in demonstrations. The author witnesses several family members and friends being arrested during the new ruling and they are eventually put to death.
Supported by her family’s encouragement, Marjane is a very outspoken young lady and often goes against authority, especially in her strict school. When she is sixteen, her parents send her to a French school in Vienna to provide her with a good education and keep her away from the revolution. There she makes a few friends, but is constantly moving around and feels she no longer has a home to belong to. Missing the much-needed support from her family, Marjane gets involved with a number of boyfriends and drugs. After a breakup with a serious boyfriend, she finds herself lost and ends up on the streets. After four years in Vienna, Marjane returns home to Tehran. Here, she struggles to fit in as well. She eventually marries and attends a graphic design program at a local college. After a few years her marriage falls apart, but Marjane finds support from her parents and grandmother. The story ends with her leaving Tehran to continue her art education in Europe.
I really enjoyed reading this book. It was told from a unique view poit of a young girl growing up in the Islamic Revolution and her journey to find her place in the world. The book gave a lot of information about the war and Islamic culture in an interesting way. I appreciated Marjane’s honesty in telling readers of the mistakes she made and how she learned to cope with the tragedies around her. I also really enjoyed the artwork and how it complemented the story.