I quite appreciated and enjoyed this memoir of young girl growing up in 1980s Poland. While Sowa may have experienced them quite differently, many of the topics and events that she covers are also touchstones for me as I spent much of my time in Europe in the 1980s and both of my children were born there (1980 and 1983).
These are some of the big events/topics she covers and dates from Wikipedia:
The Polish Pope, John Paul II 16 October 1978 – 2 April 2005
Solidarity / Solidarność founded on 17 September 1980
Martial law Poland December 13, 1981 to July 22, 1983
Chernobyl 26 April 1986
Tiananmen Square 04 June 1989
fall of the Berlin Wall began the evening of 9 November 1989
I was in Germany the first time when Pope John Paul II was elected and for the rise of Solidarity. I quite well remember the declaration of martial law in Poland. I was stationed on a nuclear missile site in then West Germany and the entirety of the US military in Europe went on high alert.
When Chernobyl happened I was stationed in Belgium and well remember not being able to eat certain food products for months.
I found her young, but lived, experience of and reactions to TV, religion, visiting rural relatives for farming and vacation, living in a high-rise and stairwell culture, American toothpaste, food lines, and so on to be interesting and empathy building. I, too, have experienced sides of many of these but certainly not all and often not to the extent she did.
Marzi is a memoir of growing up in communist Poland, with its hardships and political unrest. It's also the story of a little girl's family and friends, and the bright spots that keep them going. It's not overtly focused on the political, but Marzi grows into understanding what's going on around her. Especially when her father becomes active in the struggle for liberation. Even if you're not interested in history, though, this is an excellent memoir. Sowa was willing to lay many things bare, such as her mother's dysfunction and cruelty. It's not sensationalistic, but it's sobering. But in many ways her family was one of the lucky ones, finding ways to survive and enjoy parts of their lives even during hardship. This one stayed with me for a long while after I turned the last page.
The stories didn't interest me, the drawings were childish, and it didn't remind me of the Poland I visited. This is no "Persepolis"!
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