I had recently created a small section of Biographical Graphic Novels and Non-Fiction Graphic Novels at the library I work at. It’s a little section but I’m proud of creating a visible assertion that graphic novels aren’t 100% superheroes. That non-fiction and memoirs have been in the graphic medium and will continue to grow.
So imagine my confusion receiving Soviet Daughter : A Graphic Revolution by Julia Alekseyeva to have processed. I figured it was a memoir and would be placed under our Biographical Graphic Novels because Julia uses information provided by her great-grandmother, Lola from her days growing up in the USSR to witnessing the Fall of the Soviet Union and moving to the United States. At the same time, moments of Julia’s story is interwoven, reminiscently reminding me of Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, where she revisits her relationship with her father prior to his death. However the library system placed it as a Fiction.
So I dug deeper and ran across more confusion. Amazon lists Soviet Daughter under Amazon Best Seller Ranks as “Educational and Non-Fiction” (#164) but “Historical and Biographical Fiction” (#96). The publisher, Microcosm Publishing, markets it as a “graphic novel memoir unites two generations of strong, independent women against a sweeping backdrop of the history of the USSR.” A memoir is a biography, written from personal sources. If this was fiction, the marketing would say so since it would put the book in a tricky situation. WorldCat lists it as “Biography, Fiction” with Similar Items listing subjects including “Nonfiction/Biography/Memoir”.
Food for thought when looking at books in the library. The collection says a lot if books are placed in Fiction or Non-Fiction. For now, Soviet Daughter: A Graphic Revolution will be under Fiction. If there are any changes, we’ll see!