21 April 2016

Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi

Publication: 2005
# of Pages: 134
Source: Library Copy 

From the best-selling author of Persepolis comes this gloriously entertaining and enlightening look into the sex lives of Iranian women. Embroideries gathers together Marjane's tough-talking grandmother, stoic mother, glamorous and eccentric aunt and their friends and neighbors for an afternoon of tea drinking and talking. Naturally, the subject turns to love, sex and the vagaries of men. 

As the afternoon progresses, these vibrant women share their secrets, their regrets and their often outrageous stories about, among other things, how to fake one's virginity, how to escape an arranged marriage, how to enjoy the miracles of plastic surgery and how to delight in being a mistress. By turns revealing and hilarious, these are stories about the lengths to which some women will go to find a man, keep a man or, most importantly, keep up appearances. 

Full of surprises, this introduction to the private lives of some fascinating women, whose life stories and lovers and will strike us as at once deeply familiar and profoundly different from our own, is sure to bring smiles of recognition to the faces of women everywhere--and to teach us all a thing or two.

After reading Persepolis by Marjane I became extremely interested in checking out other materials by her and reading more about the Iranian culture. Luckily I found this little gem of a book that not only fulfilled my challenge for my Around the World project, but also gave me more insight to a culture I was unfamiliar with. 

What was most amazing about the graphic novel was the fact that it focused on the women on Marjane's family and how they view marriage and relationships. Growing up in America has cultivated me into believing that a woman can choose to be a virgin or not at marriage or she can choose to divorce her husband for reasons such as irreconcilable differences. However, this perspective/view is not shared across all cultures. I quickly found that it was and may still be expected in some areas for women to remain virgins before marriage and to stay with their husbands instead of opting for divorce. Reading about a culture that is so different from my own is the exact reason why I started to explore and commit myself to the Around the World Reading project as it opens up doors of cross-cultural understanding. 

One of  my other favorite aspects of this novel was the inclusion of humor. To be dealing with such a sensitive topic, the women discuss it with ease and a light sense of humor that makes it even more enjoyable. They laugh at themselves, each other, and their misfortunes. I was thoroughly surprised that the women were so light-hearted considering the circumstances women in their society faced. It makes the reader see the other perspectives of the world to prevent them from becoming narrow minded and closed within the confines of their own culture. It broadens ones horizons and permits the reader with an opportunity to learn and expand their worldly knowledge. 

In all Embroideries proved to be a great additional work by Satrapi. There was no plot as the book was mainly character and culturally driven. This aspect of the book is not negative as it serves as a catalyst for reader's to gain insight to Iranian culture. It is effectively written, gives basic stories that contain riveting information, and also contains great graphics. Overall, I enjoyed this book and actually wish it was longer. ; )