Author Julia Alekseyeva’s great-grandmother Lola lived to be 100 years old – long enough to see the birth, and eventual collapse, of the USSR. Lola made a record of her life as a Jew in the Soviet Union, and now Alekseyeva has turned her great-grandmother’s memoirs into her debut graphic novel, Soviet Daughter.
Alekseyeva tells NPR that she chose to tell her great-grandmother’s story in the graphic novel format to help readers visualize her experience. She says, “I think it’s hard for a lot of people who didn’t grow up with the same imagery to really understand what these people were, what was going on in those regions — the uniforms, the parks. The idea of just Soviet living is so far, far removed from what most Americans expect.”