When I initially read this for my Women’s Lit class, I thought it an interesting memoir, but do to time constraints I didn’t have the time to consider all of the little points and details that make this book so intriguing. And given the graphic novel format, I think it’s easy to overlook these subtle details imbedded in the construction.
As a graphic novel, the memoir’s a visual piece that’s readily accessible to everyone. Yet it’s not oversimplified, as the message evoked by the images is indeed complex. The illustrations manipulate your sense of observation, forcing you to analyze the various layers in order to get a real sense of what Satrapi’s describing. The format allows Satrapi to use visual metaphors to represent the changes in perception that result from the various changes in rule, with elongated frames that convey movement and speech bubbles that become jagged evoking the alarm and fear of the speaker. There’s also a lot of repetition in the stylistic motifs of the illustrations to emphasize or reiterate a particular theme or idea. I really like how she does this.
Also, I like how she describes childhood perspectives… with a mixture of fantasy and reality. As any young child, Satrapi really didn’t have a very good understanding of what’s taking place and the gravity of the situation. There’s a lot of confusion and puzzlement as she tries to put all of the pieces together to visualize and make sense out of what she’s hearing described by the adults around her.
Definitely enjoyed this book more the second time around.