Marzi by Marzena Sowa


“I am Marzi, born in 1979, ten years before the end of communism in Poland. My father works at a factory, my mother at a dairy. Social problems are at their height. Empty stores are our daily bread.I’m scared of spiders and the world of adults doesn’t seem like a walk in the park.”Told from a young girl’s perspective, Marzena Sowa’s memoir of a childhood shaped by politics feels remarkably fresh and immediate. Structured as a series o...

Details Marzi

Release DateOct 25th, 2011
GenreSequential Art, Graphic Novels, Comics, Autobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, History, Cultural, Poland

Reviews Marzi

  • R
    Let me just say how much I loved little Marzi. Her character is sweet, charming, and vulnerable, with a healthy dose of insecurity brought on by the culture of her environment and a mother who seemed to feel she had to bring Marzi up with an iron first. Marzi was just a normal little girl, watching as her parents stood in line for simple food staples, went to school with friends who had goods her family seemingly couldn't afford, and spent time w...
  • Noran Miss Pumkin
    This book was a win from first reads give-away. It was an advanced copy=not for sale.The story follows the trials and tribulations, as well as the joys, hopes, and drams of a girl growing up in Communist Poland, in the 1970's. I remember being about the same age at this time, and dreading the Red Menace, that plagued my grandparents' homeland. I thought how horrid it would be somewhere, where they decided what you would do, where you lived, and w...
  • Agnes
    Yes, I'm biased as can be reviewing this wonderful graphic novel about a girl born at the end of the 1970s to live through the last decade of communism in Poland. Yes, I grew up in the same city of Stalowa Wola and shared so many similar experiences like time spent with relatives in the countryside, and being told that “children and fish don’t have a voice.” Despite this incredibly coincidental bias I will still congratulate Marzi for writi...
  • Steve
    This is another one I find really difficult to rate. I wouldn't describe it as touching, or moving, or exciting, though it can be some of those things at times. I'd most describe it as... interesting. It's delivered very plainly, and most of the vignettes are about everyday life. It's informative, but it's slice-of-life... so by its very nature, it's not super gripping. It's smart - it has a great eye for minor events that make statements, both t...
  • Raina
    This was so good!I'm pretty startled that it took me so long to discover it.Marzi grew up in Poland, and is just a few years older than I am (she was born in 1979). I'm sure a million people have asked her "What was it like to grow up under communism?"*This book seems to be her answer.I really liked the approach of the book. Marzi's chapters are extremely episodic. She doesn't vary her panel layout at all - six panels per page, and each chapter i...
  • Lorenzo Berardi
    Calling this book "The Polish Persepolis" as many did would not be fair.What I like, apart from the book, is the story behind its genesis.Let's take a French illustrator and a Polish woman with some writing skills. Let's call them Sylvain and Marzena. Then let these two fall in love with each other.Visiting Marzena's country, Sylvain got interested in the childhood of his girlfriend and he asked her to remember those days. Marzena did it beginnin...
  • Tammie
    An autobiography of Marzena Sowa in a graphic novel format- it was a very enjoyable read! This book details memories she had as a child growing up in Poland during the fall of the communist regime. It was very interesting to look from a child's perspective the various issues that plagued her young life- such as financial and political issues, ration cards, worker strikes, and long lines to purchase limited food items. I would definitely recommend...
  • Beata Malinowska
    The autobiographical novel "Marzi" written by Marzena Sowa greatly depicts living in Comunist rule. Marzi is the main character in the novel, and through her eyes we can observe political and historical changes that are taking place in the 1980s Poland. Although on the each page of the novel we can notice the same six-panel layout, the story told from Marzi's point of view does not happen to be monotonous. Quite the opposite: the reader does not ...
  • Michael Scott
    My list of graphic novels depicting the horrors of daily life under a Communist regime is growing: after Pyongyang A Journey in North Korea, The Year of the Pioneer, Acum nu e momentul and other Romanian books by Mihai Stanescu, I found the wonderful memoir of Marzena Sowa, Marzi. Overall, this is one of the best first-hand accounts of a survivor of those times, aided greatly by the visuals. Recommended for anyone interested in life under Communi...
  • Fátima López Sevilla
    I was born just months before the Berlin Wall fell in Spain from foreign parents, so all the stories about life under a state of war, communism, civil war, dictatorship... come to me from books, articles, TV and cinema and, sometimes, from friends whose relatives lived such years.Thus, my knowledge about what happened in Eastern Europe is reduced to school books and such. As a fan of graphic novel memoirs, I find 'Marzi' a really good one, tender...
  • Skye Kilaen
    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 mem...
  • Ali
    Yes, it's slow and "vignettes" is definitely the right term for this storytelling... but it was charming and true to the child's perspective. I enjoyed it very much.
  • Paul
    The world of graphic novels is not one I turn to often these days. When i was younger I read them a lot. As a dyslexic I was encouraged to do so as they figured few words would help with my learning to read. However I have long since given up the world of cape crusaders and men of Steele. For the most part it takes a lot o get my attention in this form of reading. The last being Mouse the tale of surviving the holocaust. So it was with only idle ...
  • Mathew
    Possibly aimed at the same audience (age-wise) as Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, Marzi is an autobiographical recollection of Marzena Sowa's life growing up in communist Poland during the 80s. Her life is reflected in the dull, muted, grey colouring, full of queues and whispered angsts amongst adults against the state. Throughout, the young Marzi is desperate to find out the truth of the story behind their country but when she eventually d...
  • Emilyn
    Originally posted at http://littleapplebookworm.blogspot.c...This simply but beautifully illustrated graphic novel tells the story of Marzi, a young girl coming of age behind the Iron Curtain. Marzena Sowa was born in 1979 in Stalowa Wola, Poland. The majority of this graphic novel, written as a series of vignettes, takes place in the years leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Ms. Sowa manages to demonstrate both the uncertainty of ...
  • Dar
    This is a memoir about a young girl living in Communist Poland in the 1980s. I would give this book 5 stars for authenticity. The author captured her childhood experiences in vignettes of 2-4 pages, each one a little comic strip of daily life. I read the book in "bits and bites" over a month. Marzi (the character) was a three-dimensional person. I found myself irritated with her at times, just like I would be with a real child! I found the book h...
  • Oneirosophos
    That was intense.Marzi is an extremely heavytext biography of Marzena Sowa, born in 1979, in a factory city in Poland.Enter Cold War in its last ten years. Life in Poland is harsh, as in any other Eastern Bloc's country. People go to buy things only with coupons and stay at queues for hours freezing hoping to buy something, from a sausage to new shoes. Because USSR used these countries as cheap labor.In Marzi's town, the factory makes weapons and...
  • Jason
    Marzi's got a bit of a slow burn, because it's a series of vignettes only loosely tied together with narrative. What's nice about that is that it's easy to pick up and put down again if you only have small blocks of time to read. It does, however, reward he patient reader with a sense of time and place not necessarily connected to narrative, a sense of how one's own childhood connects with Marzi's--because so much of our own childhoods follow tha...
  • Alan
    If you're expecting a story Maus or Barefoot Gen you'll be disappointed. Based off the book's pre-publishing publicity I was expecting something more like those two. A story of the writer's growing up during the beginnings and success of the Poland's Solidarity movement. Well, Solidarity appears around the halfway point, and becomes more of a focus towards the end as Marzi's father is one of Solidarity early supporters.You do get a good view of y...
  • Adriana
    Great story, pretty art, and a look at a place and time where things couldn't have been more different.I could definitely connect with Marzi's confussion with the adult world and feeling left out. What kid didn't feel that way?It also made me realize what a blessed childhood I had. I couldn't imagine living in a place where you had to stand in line for something as basic as toilet paper (not to mention food) and hope they still had some when you ...
  • Jamie
    I'm ending my relationship with Marzi early. It's an interesting enough story, but I've realized by trying this one that I don't really care for graphic novels that are written and drawn by separate people. There was too much of a disconnect between the art and the writing in this one--too many words and too many pictures jammed on one page. With some good editing, Marzi's story might have held my interest longer.
  • Bina
    Marzi is an important book in that it draws attention to the more recent history of Poland under Jaruzelski, Chernobyl and the Solidarnosc union, but also reminds that these were not simply notable points in history, but that actual people were trying to live normal lives. This alternation of the universal and the strange is perhaps Marzi’s best achievement. Marzi is an important book in that it draws a...
  • Paul
    This is fantastic slice of life series of stories. They are the reminiscences of Marzena Sowa from her childhood growing up in Poland during the late 1980s as Communism was falling in Eastern Europe. These are touching and insightful stories that warm your heart and give you a better understanding of the power of belief and perseverance.
  • Elizabeth A
    I love graphic novels, but I did not love this one. This is memoir of a young girl in Poland, and I did find the backdrop of family and culture interesting. But the book as a whole did not suck me in.
  • Manon the Malicious
    I was provided an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.This was okay but it had no beginning nor end...It was kinda of a testimony of the life of a kid in 1979 in Poland.Basically, it was interesting but not captivating...I also was not a huge fan of the art...
  • James
    Growing up in communist Poland, these vignettes from Marzena Sowa are an insight, both into the harshness of living behind the Iron Curtain, and the universality of the experience of childhood. Fabulous, and the sort of thing they should make available in schools.
  • Blue
    I am not sure why people compare this book to Persepolis. They are two very different books, and even the premise is really not similar. Marzi is about a child, and even at the end she is barely starting to be a young teenager. Persepolis is about a young girl who grows up, lives as a teenager, and leaves and comes back after living abroad as a young adult to Iran. Perhaps it is the childhood spent under oppressive regime thing that got people to...
  • Sarann
    “I am Marzi, born in 1979, ten years before the end of communism in Poland, an only child who lives in a small industrial city.” Marzi is a memoir, it’s a graphic novel full of vignettes that show her point of view from her childhood, she talks about her living conditions and about her growing up in Poland before the end of communism. Marzi shows all her ups and downs growing up as a fugitive. Marzi and her family lived on the fifth floor ...
  • syrin
    I know next to nothing about the history of Poland except for that dark period in European history during WWII, so I had no idea what to expect from this tale of Marzena Sowa's childhood, but in the end it turned into a very nice read. Through the eyes of eight year old Marzi we learn a bit about what it was like living on the other side of the Iron Curtain in the late eighties, we see what the daily struggles were, be it simply fights with her f...
  • Dan Weiss
    I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would. The storytelling is unique and the art is great. I have read accounts of pre-1989 Eastern Europe, but this collection of childhood stories really makes it come to life. In the setting of 1980s Poland, one which most of us only know by way of reporters' accounts and history books, very personal and sometimes quirky episodes remind us that children around the world are not so different from one ...