Mariane Satrapi's story tells and illustrates her childhood in Iran. Born into a wealthy and secular Iranian family, she witnessed some of the most bitter years of her country's recent history. Social madness, teenage martyrs, political and religious disputes, torture in the Shah's prisons.
This is a graphic novel and very slow reading. So much to look at and take in. With humor, Satrapi does the important work of humanizing history. She wants to join the demonstrations but is not allowed, so she and her friends invent games in the garden. Trying out different hats, she talks to God and asks him, "don't you think I look like Che Guevara?" and then, "maybe I'll be better as Fidel Castro." The next frames show her looking under tables and knocking on doors. Then a heart-breaking frame of her in bed, tears streaming down, she says, "God, where are you?"
One of the worst things for her about the fundamentalists is that they curb her budding taste for Western fashion.