Archive | 4:11 am


12 Nov

In August 1991, I was on the cusp of moving to Colombia, a huge transition in my life.

The world was also in a huge transition. Two years earlier, the Berlin Wall had “fallen”, though it took a while for it to actually be dismantled. The Cold War was ending and the Soviet Union was in trouble.

For Dasha Tolstikova, 1991 was the year her mother left their home in the Soviet Union to study in America. It was also the year the Soviet Union fell. Her new illustrated memoir,  A Year Without Mom, chronicles this cataclysmic year in her life.


“And then one morning we wake up and Gorbachev, the president of Russia, is taken prisoner by some bad people and there are tanks rolling down the streets of Moscow.”

his memoir, though is about more than the August coup and the fall of the USSR. It chronicles her life as a 13-year-old, navigating that transitional time in a person’s life, as the world around her falls apart.

The simple illustrations seem apt for the sparse text. Both capture the bleak Soviet setting while capturing universal teen emotions.


A lovely, quick read that captures an interesting time in a life.

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