It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s ‘The Complete Persepolis’

Nicole Aikens

I hate summer reading, so I can sympathize with every single incoming freshman that had to read “The Complete Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi.

My hatred of summer reading aside, after seeing my freshman friends tote it around and finding the bookstore well-stocked with it, I was curious to know what the freshmen were going through this semester.

So I took one for the team, and I read it from cover to cover. Now, unfortunately, I can empathize with them.

First and foremost, “The Complete Persepolis” is a comic book about a girl’s life growing up in Iran. I’m talking full-blown, tons of pictures and little writing comic book.

Sometimes comic books are cool, but this book is 341 pages of black-and-white pictures that aren’t even that interesting. Needless to say, I wasn’t on the edge of my seat waiting to see if Lois was going to figure out Superman’s true identity.

“The Complete Persepolis” continues to drop on my interesting scale even more because it’s packed full of Iranian history that probably wouldn’t make sense to me if I took an entire course on it, let alone trying to understand it from five words and a couple of pictures.

I’m not sure if I should be mad that I actually had to read a real novel for my freshman summer reading or if incoming freshmen should feel cheated. Any emotion the book was trying to convey was just lost on me.

Here’s my reasoning for that.

There’s little explanation of events tied together with a couple drawings. In those drawings, it’s usually not even clear what they are supposed to represent. Holy bewilderment, Batman – The Riddler is easier to decipher.

So what can we learn from “The Complete Persepolis” besides the fact that comic books may not be the best way to tell a story?

These are the three things I learned:

1. Always listen to your grandmother, mother, father, etc. when you’re being told to stay true to yourself.

2. Under no circumstances should you ever become a drug dealer.

3. “A first marriage is a dry run for the second.” (Seriously, it said this – Page 333.)

I really think the first lesson is the only one that can be applied to students entering college. The second isn’t a bad one to keep in mind, either.

So yeah, I read the freshman summer reading assignment, but when I think back on it, I feel like a “Peanuts” parent told me the story, and all that comes to mind is “wah waaah wah wah wah wah wah.”

Contact features correspondent Nicole Aikens at [email protected].