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Soviet Daughter: A Graphic Revolution (Comix…

Soviet Daughter: A Graphic Revolution (Comix Journalism)

by Julia Alekseyeva

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I decided to give a graphic novel a try. Soviet Daughter is sort-of a memoir where julie tells her great grandmother's story in the Soviet Union and then her own story of immigrating to the US after the Chernobyl disaster. I liked her great grandmother's story a lot more; although there are definitely some sad and horrific parts in WWII since they are Jewish ( )
  strandbooks | Feb 25, 2018 |
Summary: Julia Alekseyeva's great-grandmother Lola was born in 1910 to Jewish parents. She grew up poor but independent-minded, educating herself from books after she had to stop attending school to care for her younger brothers and sisters. Lola survived World War I, the Bolshevik revolution, the rise of communism, the pogroms, the Holocaust, and the Chernobyl disaster, and loved, lost, and interacted with a wide variety of Russians along the way.

Review: This was interesting - Russian history from a Russian's perspective - but narratively it didn't quite work for me. It was based on author's great-grandmother's memoir, so she may not have wanted to stray too far from Lola's own words, but I think she still could have done a little more than the occasional vocabulary-defining footnote to flesh out the context for those of us who are less familiar with the relevant history. I also think the narrative connection between the historical story and the modern-day autobiographical one didn't quite connect. The author tells us of how similar she and her great grandmother were and how they had this connection and how their worldviews were similar, but it's all tell and no show - we don't see enough of the author's life to judge whether or not this is true. (Not that I wanted to, necessarily; the great grandmother's life interested me much more than that of a self-described millennial artist.) I do see the use of the framing story, but although it clearly has emotional weight for the author, it's not developed well enough to have that same sort of heft for the reader. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: I think this book is best for its glimpse into the daily life of people living through what we tend to think of as broad sweeping historical events. The closest read-alike that I can think of is probably Persepolis, although this one doesn't feel quite as rich or as full as that did. ( )
  fyrefly98 | Jun 19, 2017 |
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Family is an odd thing. The people we end up closest to are not whom we'd expect.
Take off your bicycle-spectacles!
I alone will tell
of time
and of myself.

Vladimir Mayakovsky,
"At the Top of My Voice"
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"The story in comics of Lola, the author's great-grandmother, who lived an adventurous life as a feminist, secret service agent, military nurse, and Jewish refugee in the soviet Ukraine. The story is interweaved with the author's political and romantic coming-of-age a century later in present-day Chicago"--… (more)

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