This book gives us a clearer idea of what it was like for well educated, sophisticated people to live under the backward, regressive Islamic state. From elation at the revolution that overthrew the shah, to shock and horror at the revolution being taken over by ignorant clerics, to having their lives turned upside down as the educational system was destroyed and all aspects of life were regulated by ignorant mullahs: this is the story in Persepolis. Not to mention the 10 year war with Iraq: a war that was convenient for the US, and which the US helped ensure would last as long as possible; but also a war that was convenient for the new fundamentalist masters in Iran, since war nearly always legitimizes a regime, no matter how awful.
Satrapi experienced the war mostly at a distance, as her parents sent her at age 14 to Europe where she could study safely away from the mullahs and ever-present Revolutionary Guard. It turns out that being a rebellious teenager living far from home can lead to poor choices, and Satrapi made those choices. She seems pretty honest about it all, and I, at least, can’t say that I would have acted much differently than she did.
This is a book that I wish the current crop of Iran-haters would read, in that it shows ordinary educated Iranians as the decent and cultured people that they are.