Fairmont State University’s Common Book for 2015-2016 will be “Persepolis,” according to Dr. Deborah Nestor, Chair of the faculty Common Book Committee.
This autobiographical graphic novel is a coming-of-age story that explains the struggles of college-age student Marjane Satrapi in Iran.
Satrapi rebels against her fundamentalist government’s restrictions on its female citizens. Because her outright defiance places her in danger, she flees the country and begins a new life in Vienna. There, she furthers her education and tackles the numerous challenges of adolescence without her friends and family there to support her.
This graphic novel touches on Middle Eastern history and politics in an engaging way, allowing readers to connect to Satrapi’s experiences on a personal level. Her struggle to discern where she belongs is one to which everyone can relate.
“I am very excited about our committee’s choice of ‘Persepolis’ for next year’s Common Reader. There are so many ways to approach the book,” said Nestor, Professor of English.
As this novel discusses themes such as cultural and religious differences, it can provide excellent material for class discussion.
Persepolis, in addition to discussing the many challenges Satrapi faces, also helps to explain how America is perceived by other countries around the world. This insight is beneficial, as it allows students to experience different points of view.
“It’s a coming-of-age story that also gives us the chance to talk about our nation’s role in the Middle East,” Nestor said.
This graphic novel is engaging for more than just its gripping storyline. Its beautiful illustrations should spark student interest and provide students in an art-related field with inspiration for further work.
“It’s also a striking work of visual art that I’m hoping our students will enjoy,” Nestor said.
The Common Book project grew out of an Honors Program project to promote intellectual discussion across campus. In 2010, general studies classes adopted the common book to focus campus intellectual energy by reading a book together.
In addition to Nestor, members of the Common Book Committee include Amie Richards, J. Robert Baker, Carolyn Crislip-Tacy, Veronica Gallo, Thelma Hutchins, Jennifer Yerdon LeJune, Kenneth Millen-Penn, Robyn Payne, Jeremy Price, Pamela Stephens, Michael Ransom, Rhonda Lemke Sanford, Angela Schwer, Philip Wagner and Philip Yeager.