I realized then that I didn't understand anything. I read all the books I could. (4.40)
After listening to a conversation between her parents and her grandparents, Marji realizes that she's simply too young to understand the adults' conversation. She decides to read, but we have to wonder if that's an adequate replacement for life experience.
"His father did it, but it's not Ramin's fault." (6.34)
This is important advice from Mom that young Marji is getting old enough to understand. She had just bullied a boy because of something his father did, but as she gets older, she's starting to gain some perspective. She even does the Big Girl thing and apologizes.
"My God! He repeats what they tell him." (6.38)
Oh, Mom. Here she is again calling attention to the general ignorance of children—they repeat what their parents tell them. We're not sure if this ever changes, because let's face it: as Marji gets older, she becomes a combination of both her parents' ideals. Even as an adult, she's still repeating what her parents say, to some extent. It's just filtered.
"Don't you know that when [parents] keep saying someone is on a trip it really means he is dead?" (7.7)
Marji is at an awkward social stage where she understands that her parents are kind of lying to her, but she still doesn't understand that it isn't socially acceptable to tell a friend that her dad is dead. Emily Post would not approve.
If I wanted to be friends with 14-year-olds, I had to do it. (15.7)
Marji has reached an age where she wants to have older friends. The problem is that she's not mature enough to pretend to act like a fourteen-year-old, and she ends up making a lot of mistakes. Though maybe that's what growing up is about.
Marji tells herself this in the mirror at age fourteen, and she grapples with this for the rest of the book… and probably for the rest of her life. We say this a lot, but maybe this is what growing up is about: learning who you are, and staying true to that. That's what it's like for Marjane, at least.
I headed straight for the supermarket to buy groceries like a woman. (20.37)
This is the first thing Marjane does after she finds herself in the boarding school in Vienna. Does buying groceries on one's own make you a woman? She also starts going by Marjane instead of Marji at this time, so there's that to factor in, too.
And she doesn't mean beginning to look a lot like Christmas either. She's talking about finding her personal style, which is very important as a teenager. Marjane spends a lot of time crafting her unique look, and the fact that her character stands out on every page shows that she succeeded.
My mental transformation was followed by my physical metamorphosis. (24.1)
This statement is accompanied by an image of Marjane looking like the hulk, ripping through clothing. It's an appropriate comparison, seeing how she grows seven inches in a year and totally changes. Maybe the Hulk was secretly designed by a hormone-addled teenage girl. You wouldn't like them when they're angry, either.
I decided to take this little problem as a sign. It was time to finish with the past and to look forward to the future. (29.32)
Marjane returns home to her room, including a too-small desk and punk rock posters she's not into anymore. When she looks for her tapes, she can't find them—turns out her mom gave them away. Marjane decides to throw away all the stuff from her childhood and move on. We think this might mark the last step on her journey to adulthood. She's found her identity, and she doesn't need things around that symbolize her struggle for it anymore. Or maybe she just had to make room for a Marky Mark poster.