Noshed in a Book: The Complete Persepolis

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As the visual medium excites me, graphic novels share a cozy, aromatic and mood-lit spot in my heart.  That’s not to say that I haven’t the imagination to incorporate my own visions of circumstance from a narrative, but the artistry and dark contrasting lines of Marjane Satrapi’s images in The Complete Persepolis are like a secret key into a world I admittedly know little about.  I don’t say this with a proud grin or a disdainful glower, but with an honest and mild expression.  The truth is, I can’t wait to re-read this graphic memoir as it moved me in the way that ocean waves do, sometimes gently nudging and other times forcefully shoving into different depths.

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The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

[spoiler alert]

An earnest, but honest depiction of Marjane Satrapi’s life as a young, rebellious girl and coming-of-age within the incredible and repressive nation of Iran “Persia”.  This visual tonic explores the Iranian revolution in parallel to important markers of growth in Satrapi’s life; the destructive disparity between her and her families’ life behind doors and their public lives; the basic human struggle of falling to a low, sad place before finding yourself; the beautiful and emotional triumph of accepting yourself.  There were moments while reading this book when I took pause to close the book and hug it, as I didn’t want the story to end.  At times, I felt as though I was inside of Marjane’s skin, infuriated by others acceptance of mediocrity and humored by the commodities of art.  This book has helped me re-examine what it means to live in the first world and have first-world problems.  Dwelling in and finding a need to express the petty and inane aspects of our life restrain us and stunt our growth.  Satrapi explores the turmoil she experienced when first discovering class differences.  The importance of education was a theme throughout the book.  Satrapi grew up in a time when there wasn’t access to the internet and yet she flourished by seeking out knowledge in books.  Books, in many ways, were her refuge and greatest friend during the tumultuous times of her up-bringing; this was the most heartening aspect of the book for me.

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As for edibles, tea, pasta and hot cocoa stuck out to me.

  • Tea was a marker of regularity and routine in Satrapi’s life and it’s obvious and endearing that it is a point of pride for Marjane’s family.  Often served from a samovar–which is a self-boiling decorative basin or urn for hot liquid–tea is consumed throughout the day in Persian culture and is not for the faint of heart.
  • Pasta was independence.  When Marjane settled into her first boarding school, pasta was one of the few things she could find to prepare and it became her staple food.  It was convenient to find and she could prepare it with ease.
  • Hot chocolate became a symbol of comfort in Marjane’s life.  She served hot cocoa when she would stay into the late hours of the night talking with her father or uncle.  She would serve hot chocolate to a family friend’s children during a time of crisis.  Hot chocolate meant a moment away from all the destruction around her and her family; a repose in times when food was scarce and pampering the pallet was the clearest path to sanity.  I decided to make a type of Persian hot chocolate, and for those of you out there who are Persian, if you have any thoughts or comments as to the validity of this recipe, please let me know.  This is not my recipe, but one I came across in a thoughtful search on the web.  It was made on a not so chilly evening, yet still coziness in a cup.

Try out Persian Spiced Dark Hot Chocolate by Venus Kalami

niab4_5This hot cocoa has the incredible strength of chocolate and the refreshing brightness of cardamom.

What is your take-away from The Complete Persepolis and what food or foods were brought to your mind while you read and experienced it?  I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts and what you noshed on while reading, feel free to use the hash-tag #noshedinabook .  Check out previous Noshed in a Book posts and join me in reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.  And remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy and Happy Reading Regards,

RAM

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