A Fearless Collection of Short Stories about Love, Loss and Growth – Rina M.

by capreviewroom

Dead Girls by fictional Canadian writer Nancy Lee is a brilliant collection of 8 vividly descriptive stories that journey through life experiences that are possibly relatable to the reader. The collection is set in the year 2002 when the “Pickton Trials” for Robert Pickton’s horrific murders (main underlying story in “Dead Girls”). Nancy Lee is a fearless writer who dares to lay out the sensitive subject of “sex” in bold print and also drugs and alcohol defining and describing it and its related factors up front and personal. She also published this book in the same year Robert Pickton’s gruesome murders were set loose on the city of Vancouver almost as if challenging the city.


                The collection starts off with a very realistic “Associated Press” involving “you”, “this boy” and “that boy”. This short story as well as “Dead Girls” is set in second person narrative grabbing and seating “you”, the reader, into the protagonist’s seat. The unnamed characters of “Associated Press” give a feeling of true existence somewhere living in the city possibly deliberately due to the absence of names describing the characters. All the stories endure pain and loss intertwining the character’s lives; but surprisingly unique and different in their own way. Each of the 8 stories telling a different tale whether it’s “you” in “Associated Press” selflessly and foolishly, madly in love who “mistrust[s] [her] preferences, habits, [her] usuals” (19) , the sick and objectified parts of Sally in “Sally in Parts”, a pain stricken mother drowning in her guilt for the loss of her “bright smiling daughter” (107) in “Dead Girls”, a pill obsessed nurse, another would be the desperate actions of a sister to maintain shelter and food and jealousy between the two siblings in “Sisters”. The 8 stories are so different and may be something the reader has never experienced, but the brilliant word choice and descriptions open our eyes and provide a peeping hole into the world of possibly someone we know or the people we walk by every day. Even in my case, and imagination of “what if that happened to me?” in the case of “Dead Girls” and “Sisters” inputting me and my 8 year old sister into play.


                Nancy Lee’s writing is beautiful, bold, elegant, chillingly straight forward and honest about the pains and struggles that people in Vancouver, even the world go through. She successfully invites us into the story through first, second and third person narration throughout the book. I very much enjoyed this book and was personally an emotional experience for me due to the convincing details and humane reactions the stories portray. The collection displays a raw sample or example of the lives of people encountering and dealing with their lives everyday around the world in their own way.


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