Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi | Book Series Review

★★★★☆
May 21st

I don’t know a lot about “modern” history. Anything after World War II and I’m totally lost. I’m not typically one for politics or war or revolution. I especially don’t know a lot about Iran. It’s something that I’m working to try and learn about. This series was fascinating to me. Satrapi’s history is complex and important, and is filled with the types of struggles I’m so lucky to have never come across in my life.

Persepolis is an autobiographical graphic novel which follows Marjane Satrapi’s life growing up in Iran at the beginning of the Iranian Revolution, her time living in Austria during the Iran/Iraq war, and then her return to Iran following the war after high school. The style is simple and compliments the story well. It reminded me a lot of Maus in tone: somber but hopeful for the future.

I cannot fathom what it was like for her to live through bombing raids. I can’t imagine living abroad while your family and friends are still at home. I can’t imagine being forced to wear clothes that you don’t want to wear, or say things you don’t want to say. There’s so much in this graphic novel that’s put into perspective that it’s astounding. This graphic novel was tough to read at times, but was really important.

Even now, I’m having trouble finding the words to say how important I think this was, because it feels like everything I have to say pales in comparison. These are powerful volumes, and I really think that more people should read this series. I’m definitely glad that I did.

-Siobhan

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn | Book Review

★★★☆☆
May 20th

I guess this is technically more of a “short story review” than a book review. This is a 60-ish page psychological short by Gillian Flynn of Gone Girl fame.

I’ve read Gone Girl, and I really enjoyed it. I tried to read both Sharp Objects and Dark Places and couldn’t get into it. Since I’m right in the middle of a tough reading slump, I headed over to my favorite place to find short books, which is r/bookinasitting. I find that when I’m in a reading slump, the best thing that I can do to get myself out of it is read something short. Usually a 50-100 page story, or even a graphic novel can help. Something about having something that you start and complete helps me get back into reading full-length stories. Which is good, because I really want to finish the two books I’m currently in the middle of.

But back to the review at hand. This book is definitely in the adult genre, as all of Flynn’s work is. It has her typical style of being brash and having women speak their minds. I’m not always a huge fan of Flynn’s characters, but what I did like about this was the atmosphere it had. It really creeped me out. Usually thrillers (and some horror) can scare me, but this one really did a great job of making the reader feel afraid for the main character.

Since this is so short, I’m not sure that it’s totally worth spoiling, and I would definitely recommend picking it up and giving it a read. Reviews that I’ve read are fairly mixed. I thought that it was just okay, and it was exactly what I was looking for, but it wasn’t anything special. Given how I’ve seen how truly great Flynn’s writing can be (I’m looking at you, Gone Girl ending), I’ve come to expect more from her. That being said, you really can’t ask for much more out of around 60 pages.

If she ever writes anything short like this again, I would definitely pick it up, but I think I’m going to hold off on diving into any of her longer novels anytime soon.

-Siobhan

Becoming by Michelle Obama | Book Review


★★★★☆
April 1st – May 1st

I’m still trying to read more non-fiction. Becoming has been getting rave reviews, and several of the blogs and reviews that I’ve read and watched have been talking about this. I ended up getting the audiobook as a part of a promotion, and decided to listen my way through this.

I really like Michelle Obama. She’s an amazing person, an incredible mother, and a hard-working human being. I’m interested in her life, where she came from, and how she became who she became, so this seemed like the logical place to start. There was a lot I didn’t know about her. I didn’t know where she went to school, where she grew up, what her career was prior to being First Lady. I was ignorant about a lot of her life, and I’m really glad that I read this book.

The writing is real and down to Earth. I loved the natural flow of her story, from the pain of watching her father’s disability take over his life slowly, to watching her mother stay strong and resilient, even during her stay at the White House. I loved reading about her relationship with President Obama, and how at times their relationship took compromise and tending to. Relationships take work, and this didn’t gloss over the difficulty of that, especially as he made the transition into office.

The part that I had the most difficulty with in this book was the last third. Listening to the political discourse, and especially the parts about Sandy Hook felt very close to the heart and were difficult to get through. The overall message was positive: a call to stay resilient and keep fighting against those who think that racism and fear are a path to success. I’m not a political person, or a news person, so I recognize that I’m not the demographic for this part of the book.

What I especially loved was hearing about the strong women that helped her along the way, how she had mentors help her become who she was. I liked hearing how she could pass this along to her daughters and help them be just as resilient.

I would definitely give this book a read (or a listen, as Michelle Obama reads the audiobook herself) if you’re at all interested in her as a person.

-Siobhan