Soviet Daughter book cover

Soviet Daughter: A Graphic Revolution

by Julia Alekseyeva

Soviet Daughter provides a window into the life of a rebellious, independent woman coming of age in the USSR, and the impact of her story and her spirit on her American great-granddaughter, two extraordinary women swept up in the history of their tumultuous times. 

Soviet Daughter is the story of Julia Alekseyeva's great-grandmother Lola. Born in 1910 to a poor, Jewish family outside of Kiev, Lola lived through the Bolshevik revolution, a horrifying civil war, Stalinist purges, and the Holocaust. She taught herself to read, and supported her extended family working as a secretary for the notorious NKVD (which became the KGB) and later as a lieutenant for the Red Army. Her family, including 4-year-old Julia, moved to the U.S. in the wake of Chernobyl and forged a new life. Interleaved with Lola's history we find Julia's own struggles of coming of age in an immigrant family and her political awakening in the midst of the radical politics of the turn of the millennium.

At times heartbreaking and at times funny, this graphic novel memoir unites two generations of strong, independent women against a sweeping backdrop of the history of the USSR. Like Sarah Glidden in How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, or Marjane Satrapi in Persepolis, Alekseyeva deftly combines compelling stories of women finding their way in the world with an examination of the ties we all have with our families, ethnicities, and the still-fresh traumas of the 20th century.



4 hours ago

"....Alekseyeva draws a parallel between her own idealism, that of the Occupy generation, and Lola’s. After a century, we’re able to see the Russian Revolution and the early Soviet project with clearer eyes."

tue 3/14 1:40pm

" and intense, and also full of supplementary comments and explanations of various aspects of Soviet everyday life..."

fri 3/10 12:19pm

"As we all struggle to make sense of the Trump era, Alekseyeva has written and drawn a story of autocracy, revolution, and the refugee experience..."

thu 2/23 10:37am

"...really fascinating story."
"Lola's story is [just] astounding...""

mon 2/13 3:11pm

"inspirational and epic"

"This cross-generational relationship paints their stories in gorgeous expressive ink washes, hand-drawn picturesque panels. It brings to life the challenges of adulthood, war and death..."

mon 2/13 11:19am

"Everything is done simply, accurately, and truthfully, and that truth-- coupled with an attempt to show history not as a history of ideas, but as the development of personalities-- helps round out the sharp edges without looking for compromise or political antagonism."

fri 2/3 9:52am

"Soviet Daughter is a call to arms as much as it is a memoir. It ends with a message, reminding the reader that they can use their voice to go out and change the world just as the people who came before them have done. In a time when vital progress on important issues such as women's reproductive rights or equal rights for members of the LGBTQ community looks close to being undone this message couldn't be more important."

mon 1/30 6:36pm

"Lola’s story not only serves as a thrilling historical tale, filled with details to teach anyone about the history and culture of the USSR, but also envisions how we can serve the communities around us, and that we learn this through the practice and experience of others."

mon 1/30 6:21pm

"... recording the stories of her life as a Jew in the Soviet Union, filled with vivid details and enlivened by a strong, independent spirit."

mon 1/16 11:57am

"Julia Alekseyeva’s graphic memoir Soviet Daughter is a tightrope act of balance between the political and the personal. Spanning one hundred years of family history, war, and revolution, Soviet Daughter brilliantly leverages the graphic novel as an elastic, illuminating form."

"...a labor of love, a memoir, a personal history, and a political history—an achievement of both visual and written storytelling. But what elevates Alekseyeva’s work even further is its relevance to today’s political climate. Soviet Daughter reminds us of the horrors of the past, and soothes those of us disheartened by current politics."

mon 1/16 11:54am

At times heartbreaking and at times funny, this graphic novel memoir unites two generations of strong, independent women against a sweeping backdrop of the history of the USSR.


"In this debut graphic memoir, Alekseyeva presents a history of strong women finding their way in hostile systems...[an] incredible tale of pluck, joy, and hard-fought survival... A panoramic personal history."


"Though Julia is pictured at a Gay Pride Parade in Chicago, and makes brief mention of the break-up of her non-gender-specified relationship, her book's focus is on her great-grandmother's life, not her own...It's a new way to tell serious stories."


"The richness of Julia Alekseyeva’s comic resides in the contrast and surprising affinities between her own life and that of her great grandmother, a vivacious and confident woman who gives us a fascinating glimpse of everyday life in the tumultuous but heady early days of the Soviet Union."


"Julia Alekseyeva's illustrations add layers of pathos and love to her great grandmother's intense and relatable memoirs of life in The Ukraine. The story pulls you in. The pictures are beautiful; you can tell the illustrator cares about what she's saying."


"Soviet Daughter spans over 100 years to tell the stories of survival of two exceptional women. This delicately crafted book details a dynamic past, bringing it to life in the present."