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I Want To Live: The Diary of a Young Girl in Stalin's Russia

I Want To Live: The Diary of a Young Girl in Stalin's Russia
Author: Nina Lugovskaya
ISBN 13: 9780618605750
ISBN 10: 618605754
Edition: N/A
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 2007-06-18
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 304
List Price: $17.00

Recently unearthed in the archives of Stalin’s secret police, the NKVD, Nina Lugovskaya’s diary offers rare insight into the life of a teenage girl in Stalin’s Russia—when fear of arrest was a fact of daily life. Like Anne Frank, thirteen-year-old Nina is conscious of the extraordinary dangers around her and her family, yet she is preoccupied by ordinary teenage concerns: boys, parties, her appearance, who she wants to be when she grows up. As Nina records her most personal emotions and observations, her reflections shape a diary that is as much a portrait of her intense inner world as it is the Soviet outer one.

Preserved here, these markings—the evidence used to convict Nina as a “counterrevolutionary”—offer today’s reader a fascinating perspective on the era in which she lived.

Publishers Weekly

In this revealing diary, 13-year-old Nina Lugovskaya gave a true account of her life during Stalin's Great Terror. Nina's diary begins on October 8, 1932 and continues as she records her observations about school, friends, crushes and her family life, along with angry commentary about Stalin's restrictive regime: "Today they herded us out to march around the streets, which made me absolutely furious.... Walking over the cold, gray ground in the damp, dull light of an autumn day... and cursing Soviet power to myself." Her family was subjected to constant raids by the NKVD (Stalin's secret police) because of her father's involvement in the Socialist Revolutionary Party. She was cruelly teased by classmates because of her lazy eye and her academic struggles made her depressed-suicide is a topic she revisits throughout her diary. Nina's final entry occurs on January 3, 1937; the next day her diary was confiscated during a raid by the NKVD. During intensive interrogation, Nina (falsely) confesses to a plot to assassinate Stalin and she, her mother and twin sisters are sentenced to five years of hard labor in Kolyma prison camp, where they miraculously survived; Nina herself worked as an artist and lived until the age of 74. Lugovskaya's diary, which was found in the NKVD archives, stands as a compelling historical artifact and Nina's story gives a moving-if relentlessly melancholy-personal account of life in Communist Russia. Ages 12-up. (June)

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