Review by Shwetha H S
Imprint: Alfred A Knopf, USA
Genre: Non Fiction, Family, Memoir
Dani Shapiro is an author known more for her memoirs than her fiction works. Her other works are Hourglass, Family History and Playing With Fire among others.
I picked Inheritance without knowing what it is about. I don’t have the habit of reading about a book before reading the book itself. I didn’t check the book blurb and I am glad i didn’t. I usually avoid non fiction and I would have definitely dropped this book the moment my eyes glanced the blurb. I would have missed a fantastic life story.
Dani Shapiro, the author, is a Jew, or that is what she was taught until a DNA test reveals that she is not related to her only half sister from father’s side. This DNA test sets a lot in motion for Dani and her husband. They reach out to a lot of people to find answers for the questions that she had never thought she would be faced. She tries to get answers not only from her biological father but also from her dead parents, her social father. She herself is old. How old would be her biological father? Would he accept her? What were her parents thinking? Why did they not tell her about her origins even after she grew up? Is she still her social father’s daughter or now of biological father’s?
Inheritance is no lesser than a thriller. Only difference is it is Dani Shapiro’s real life story. She still continues to write. I looked up Dani Shapiro on Google after reading the book completely. She looks the way I imagined her while reading the book. Every person struggling with identity crisis must read this book. It is a must read for everyone.
Review by Shwetha H S
Genre: Autobiography, Nonfiction, Graphic Novel
Imprint: Vintage, UK
Marjane Satrapi is also the author of Embroideries and Chicken with Plums. I have not read any of her other novels, therefore I won’t be comparing Persepolis with other works of the author.
Persepolis is the autobiographical graphic novel that tells us the story of Marjane Satrapi’s life in and out of Iran. It is one of those rare books that swallow the reader into its world as soon as they read the first line. The Satrapis are Iranians with a modern outlook towards life. They suffocate during the revolution and suffer immensely when the war begins in Iran. Though they belong to the family of the last emperor of Iran, who was ousted by rebels with the help of English, they live like normal public. Satrapis have seen it all in Iran. The young one of the family is Marjane Satrapi, the author of this book. As a child, she is brought up by liberal parents and grandmother, and tried to suppress by fundamental Islamist. War is etched in her life. Relatives, friends and neighbours disappear in weird circumstances. Those who survive, they leave the country as soon as possible. Those who can’t, they send their children abroad. The same happens with Satrapis too. Marjane’s parents send their only child to Austria because they don’t want her to grown up in regressive environment after living in a progressive environment since birth. A teenage Marjane finds it difficult to adjust in Austria where people treat foreigners, especially refugees, badly. The Western culture daunts her, but she manages to survive. Only after a bad breakup with a cheating boyfriend, Marjane returns to Iran after four years. Iran has worsened further. Marjane readjusts to Iran. Her parents have aged and so has her grandmother. Her friends have changed beyond recognition. Leftover relatives give her free unwanted advice. How does she cope with the changes in her country during her childhood and teenage? In what way does the country affect her life? What does she do in Austria? What does she do after coming back to Iran? Read Persepolis to know.
This book has two parts because it is a combination of book one that is about childhood and book that is about teenage and early adulthood. Though there are no quote-worthy lines, each line by every character teaches you something about life irrespective of whether you are in Iran or not. All the illustrations in the book are in black and white, pretty much as in life. It is a hard-hitting fact that you realise while reading this book that not everybody has all the privileges, and this is conveyed through simple narration and illustrations. There is no negative point of this book. You can’t find one even if you try to.
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is for everyone irrespective of your favourite genre. If you are a parent who wants to teach your child about life or just want to keep them grounded, or keep yourself grounded, then this humble book is especially for you. Stay humble.
Review by Shwetha H S
What happens when a loving mother, wife and friend becomes psychotic? What happens to her doting family? How do her friends and extended family deal with this situation? How long do they have to suffer with a lunatic female who doesn’t realize that she is losing her mind?
Shannon Love is an expat residing in Beijing along with her husband Charles and three children. She has many friends in the expat community. They all have been living out of USA for so long that Beijing is their home now. An annual medical check up brings out reports about Shannon’s abnormal heart rates. Though her health is perfect, concerns about her heart don’t fade away. One thing leading to another, Shannon slowly develops a mental condition in which she imagines situations which are not true and listens to voices inside her head. Her husband’s company, unable to risk the health of expats, deports her for a time being to her home town in USA. She gets hospitalized to improve her condition. When things take a turn for betterment, they come back to Beijing. But is she cured completely? Does her psychosis relapse? What does her close circle of people do?
Shannon Love’s memoir is about her life with a psychotic condition and how her family and friends dealt with it. Her intention behind writing Twisting My Kaleidoscope is to let others know what a psychosis patient goes through and what the patient’s family goes through. As she has mentioned in the book, she has altered the events and situations in the narration to keep certain people out of the book due to privacy reasons. Apart from that, it is good book for one time read and is actually entertaining.