Blast from the Past–Persepolis 2–The Story of a Return by Marjane Satrapi

9517Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return by Marjane Satrapi
6/10/2007-6/11/2007–187 pages–non-fiction (memoir, graphic novel, Austria, Iran, Iran-Iraq War)
Borrowed from WCDPL
★★★★

While it’s no fault of her’s, Satrapi’s life in Europe and after the Iran-Iraq War didn’t interest me as much as during her life while living through the war. Her style and drawings are still just as captivating as before, but the content was different. Maybe the first book was just new to me, and this book just represented a pretty normal girl.

I’m surprised how lightly marriage and divorce were taken. A bit of a culture shock through reading 🙂

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Pride and Prejudice by JA & Nancy Butler–graphic rendition

TitlePride and Prejudice
Author: Jane Austen (Nancy Butler, writer)
Illustrator: Hugo Petrus
Genre: graphic novel/fiction (classic)
ISBN: 9780785139157
Length: 120 pages
Published: 2009
Source: public library
Rating: 5/5
Resolutions/Challenges: none

Reason for Reading: I love Jane Austen’s books and am always interested in different ways to experience the stories 🙂

Summary (from Goodreads): 

Vanity, not love, has been my folly

When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited, while he struggles to remain indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossip and snobberies of provincial middle-class life.

My Thoughts: Loved it! Really liked the illustrations, although I could tell that this was made to make the story seem a little edgier. And, something I didn’t include in my post about the graphic Sense and Sensibility–I thought the adaptation and shortening of this book was fairly decent. Obviously I think a lot of small details were left out, but those aren’t always necessary to the story. And I think a lot of the original dialogue made it into this graphic than in the S and S one.

Oh, and as for any major differences: It wasn’t made known to the reader what Darcy did in regards to Wickham until Darcy defended himself to Lizzie. And Lydia and Kitty aren’t portrayed as being very silly–although they’re hardly portrayed at all.

My Thoughts on the Illustrations: Really liked them. More realistic than Sonny Liew’s illustration of S and S. But very nice, just the same. More attention to detail was paid here.

PS- I LOVE how the cover looks like a magazine cover 🙂 So appropriate and interesting!!

Sense and Sensibility by JA–a graphic rendition

TitleSense and Sensibility
Author: Jane Austen (Nancy Butler, writer)
Illustrator: Sonny Liew
Genre: graphic novel/fiction (classic)
ISBN: 9780785148197
Length: 120 pages
Published: 2010
Source: public library
Rating: 5/5
Resolutions/Challenges: none

Reason for Reading: 2011 marks the bicentenary of the publication of Jane Austen’s first novel, Sense and Sensibility. So I’m trying to focus a bit of time on S&S. So far I’ve watched a new film, called From Prada to Nada (review here), which puts a Hispanic twist on the story. I’ve thought for a while that it’d be interesting to read a graphic novel version of Jane Austen’s works. So I looked into it and found that Marvel comics was publishing the books as a comic series, then publishing the whole book at the end 😀

Summary (from Goodreads):

‘The more I know of the world, the more am I convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!’

Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor’s warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love—and its threatened loss—the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.

My Thoughts: I loved this story as a graphic novel! I think any Austenite out there should give this one a try. Especially if you think you’d like a nice break from the original S&S or any of its spoofs. There were a few major differences from the original story, such as Mrs. Dashwood and Elinor being presented as much more confrontational and confident (respectively). Oh, and also that romantic moment when Colonel Brandon rescues a certain person–not in this one 😦

I realized when I read this that I don’t necessarily think that Austen is someone everyone should read. I was thinking of the possibility that this was published to get younger readers more interested in some classics. But I actually prefer it as a way for Austen lovers to get another way of experiencing Austen, not as a way to attract more readers. I tried reading Austen when I was younger. But I wasn’t mature enough as a reader to appreciate her stories until I was 17.

Thoughts on the Artistic Style: This was definitely made to look like a cartoon. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I actually quite liked it. I especially loved that Fanny always looked as if she were sucking on a lemon 🙂

Below are a few pages as examples of the style (and also to display Mrs. Dashwood’s confrontational side and Elinor’s confident side, both of which I think were liberties taken on the story).
(I apologize for the crappy-ness of the scans my printer made!)

Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began by Art Spiegelman

TitleMaus II: And Here My Troubles Began
Author: Art Spiegelman
Genre: biographical/autobiographical graphic novel
ISBN: 9780679729778
Length: 126 pages
Published: 1986
Source: personal collection
Rating: 4.5/5
Resolutions/Challenges: Personal Collection ResolutionMemoir/Biography Resolution
Awards: 1992 Pulitzer Prize

Reason for Reading: Well, I read Maus I yesterday, so it just made sense to continue 🙂

Summary:

This second volume…moves us from the barracks of Auschwitz to the bungalows of the Catskills…it attains a complexity of theme and a precision of thought…Maus ties together two powerful stories: Vladek’s harrowing tale of survival against all odds, delineating the paradox of daily life in the death camps, and the author’s account of his relationship with his aging father.

My Thoughts: I liked this one slightly less than Maus I. I’m pretty sure this is due to the fact that there is more in this one set in the present and those parts didn’t interest me as the war years and Vladek’s story.

However, there were a couple of “passages” that I really liked.

I know this is insane, but I somehow wish I had been in Auschwitz with my parents so I could really know what they lived through!
I guess it’s some kind of guilt about having had an easier life than they did. (p16)

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No matter what I accomplish, it doesn’t seem like much compared to surviving Auschwitz. (p44)

Both of those passages, I think, convey why children of Holocaust survivors might feel guilt. I always sort of wondered why the children would feel particularly guilty. I knew that I would feel guilty because I had it easier, but I didn’t realize that it would be so magnified by just being a child of a survivor. Maybe I sort of thought the children would feel victimized because their parents were. I’m not exactly sure. And the second quote, of basically an inferiority complex, I don’t think I ever would have thought of myself.

Maus I: My Father Bleeds History by Art Spiegelman

TitleMaus I: My Father Bleeds History
Author: Art Spiegelman
Genre: biographical/autobiographical graphic novel
ISBN: 9780394747231
Length: 155 pages
Published: 1973
Source: personal collection
Rating: 5/5
Resolutions/Challenges: Personal Collection Resolution; Memoir Resolution

Reason for Reading: I’ve been meaning to read this and Maus II ever since I was in high school, which was at least 5 years ago. I finally actually bought them so I could own them myself because I just knew they would be amazing and I could probably use them in social studies when I teach in the future 🙂

Summary: 

Maus is the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe, and his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father, his father’s terrifying story, and History itself…

Moving back and forth from Poland to Rego Park, New York, Maus tells two powerful stories: The first is Spiegelman’s father’s account of how he and his wife survived Hitler’s Europe…The second is the author’s tortured relationship with his aging father as they try to lead a normal life of minor arguments and passing visits against a backdrop of history too large to pacify…

Part I of Maus takes Spiegelman’s parents to the gates of Auschwitz and him to the edge of despair…

My Thoughts: I really REALLY liked this graphic novel. I have always liked reading graphic novels, but I don’t seem to be able to find many that aren’t biographical in nature and anime at the same time. I would love for some more adult fiction in graphic form.

But I digress. This novel is really moving. Spiegelman represents the Jews as mice and the Germans as cats–the obvious relationship between cat and mouse being relevant in this case. Interestingly enough, the others–such as the other Christian Poles–are represented as pigs. I’m not sure how that fit into the cat-mouse dynamic. Maybe it’s not supposed to or maybe I’m missing cultural symbolism or something.

Regardless, I love the representation as animals. It really displays the innocence of the Jews, as far as why they were treated the way they were by the Germans. And, also, I have seen cats play around with mice before finally killing them. So maybe this is another reason Spiegelman used that depiction.

I also liked seeing how Vladek was portrayed in the past and in the “present”. He seems very much like a different person. But, he has not been to Auschwitz in this novel and perhaps (I’m pretty certain, actually) that place has some impact on how he is in his aging years.

One thing that this book really pointed out to me was that it was possible for Jews to live under German rule before going to work/concentration camps. For instance, Vladek and Anja live for 5-6 years under German rule, in and out of ghettos and hiding places before they are finally discovered and sent to Auschwitz (the very end of the novel). I guess I just tend to think that German invasion and sending off all the Jews to work/concentration camps was simultaneous, even if I know it’s not true. I have a sneaking suspicion that I will be using excerpts from this and Maus II in my social studies-teaching future 🙂