Over the weekend I read Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, participating in the Seattle Reads program initiated by everyone's favorite action figure (with amazing push-button shushing action!), Nancy Pearl.
Satrapi is coming to Seattle at the end of May and there are events throughout spring focusing on Islam and Iran.
For a double local bonus, Persepolis is published by locally-based comics book folk Fantagraphics.
Persepolis is Satrapi's account of growing up under the increasing repressive Islamic regime, ages 6 to 14. Marjane is an independent-minded cute child who starts out with ambitions to be a prophet but who in the end is unable to knuckle under to the religious strictures imposed by the regime. At the end of the book, her parents send her to Austria to finish her schooling. Her parents are liberal and the combination of their subversive viewpoint and Marjane's frank curiosity makes a killer POV combination for Western audiences.
The art is simple and arresting, perfectly suited to the subject matter.
For what it is - a mournful love letter to Iran - it's very good. I can see why the SPL chose it. It's heart-wrenching in places, very accessible, and will appeal graphically to a large audience. Downside: the limited scope makes it frustrating for the reader who is looking for a more nuanced view.