(I read this book before Crooked Kingdom please pardon the late review)
A Sunday Update
This book is not a bad book but I might have gone into it with really high expectations after Persepolis I.
A 3 star 2-hour read.
Persepolis II follows Marjane as a teenager in Austria all by herself. It’s the daily struggles of a teenager that feels terrible about the choices she makes in a bid to find her identity when the people she loves are struggling in a war-torn state.
Her teenage years are actually really normal which is why I guess everything falls flat. Almost everything she experiences in Austria is what you expect of a teenager to face. I mean it was sad. She struggles with her identity and her culture – as most teenagers do – especially because she has questionable friends and also because her morals come into conflict with the culture in Austria and because she might low-key be disappointing her parents. She conforms to the new culture, she rebels against the new culture, she doesn’t know what she wants. She goes back to Iran in the second half of the book. And the story starts to pick up again.
By the end of the book, she knows what she wants and who she is. And that really is the greatest takeaway from this book. Sometimes you have to make mistakes before you realise they are exactly what you don’t want. Knowing who you’re not, knowing what you don’t want are all important things.
Like Persepolis I, there are some interesting anecdotes (not as many as in Persepolis I).
My favourite has to be the exchange between Marj and her father where Marj goes she’s a married woman, twenty-two and an adult, to which her father says:
Anyone can be twenty-two and be married. It doesn’t require an exceptional intellectual effort!!
My advice would be to stop with Persepolis I and/or go into Persepolis II with no expectations. What you will enjoy is a very honest character that is so honest about her faults that it makes you uncomfortable. The rest of us aren’t saints but we people never accept the faults in ourselves, do we? All hope is not lost though, for there is reprieve as the character learns from her mistakes just as the rest of us should.