Embroideries is no Persepolis, but that is not to say it is without the same humor that Persepolis had. What makes this book funny are not Satrapi’s adventures, but those of her grandmother and her friends. The women range in ages from their 60’s to their 20’s and the book takes place after a meal when all the women sit together and talk and complain and laugh at the way their marriages and love affairs have gone. Although some of the women have been forced into arranged marriages (in one the man was 69 and the girl 13) and the men have used their power to have affairs, the women have an irrepressible spirit that allows them to laugh at the men and talk about their own fantasies and adventures. The stories are not just ribald humor, but a means to exercise power where there is little. On the first page it is clear what the role of women in society is when Satrapi notes that her grandmother always called her husband by his last name because one should respect one’s husband. Yet once the stories begin, the respect disappears and the verbal vengeance begins. For the reader the conversations are not just humor and power relationships, but a chance to see the hidden lives of Iranian women. It shows there is more to the Iran then just the mullahs.
Graphically speaking, the book doesn’t have quite the style as Persepolis. The black and white line drawings are still there, but at times pages are almost completely filled with words and perhaps a head to indicate who is speaking. The lack of drawings is a shame because her almost block print style is an effective way to tell an understated story. Let’s hope the next book has more drawings.