Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return
Persepolis 2 starts up where the first volume left off – Marjane has left Iran for the safety of Europe, where she bounces around from house to house, school to school. I was shocked by the seeming ease with which her initial host family carted her off to a boarding school in the Alps.
Marjane has trouble fitting in and making friends. She misses her family, but tries to put on a brave face, knowing how much they’ve sacrificed to allow her this opportunity, and knowing what they must be going through at home with the revolution.
The pressure becomes too much when she has a bad breakup with a boyfriend. She completely breaks down and ends up homeless and suicidal. This signals the beginning of the return, when Marjane rejoins her family in Iran.
But returning to Iran does not solve her problems. Satrapi eloquently portrays her feelings of fitting in in neither a secular, Western culture, nor the Islamic, repressive society Iran has become. It is fascinating to read her story as she progresses from the headstrong young girl of volume one into the equally strong willed woman in volume two.
Satrapi’s illustrations do not disappoint. On one page, she describes an art class. It’s amazing how much she is able to express when the majority of the illustration is a flowing black garment.