Reacting to Sheer Reality: A Book Review of Dead Girls by Nancy Lee By Sian O’Byrne

by capreviewroom

Dead Girls is a collection of eight fictional short stories that are set in Vancouver. Instead of focusing on the glamour and beauty of Vancouver, Nancy Lee themes this collection on an aspect that most evade from association: drugs and prostitution on the downtown eastside. A reoccurring appearance of a dentist who turns out to be a serial killer of women on the streets weaves into each story. This book is written in 2002; right after Robert Pickton was apprehended. This arrest should have brought more attention and empathy to the woman of the downtown eastside but instead people still treat the woman as “them” and a “problem” within Vancouver. Lee uses a unique approach by illustrating the citizens living in Vancouver’s reactions to the murders, showing how the downtown eastside is a part of the city because of the way it reflects on all people in Vancouver.
Lee’s writing is first thought of as an easier read, but this is not a mistake. She rights in a way similar to screen writing as she has been educated so. Instead of complicated sentence structure she focus’ on a complicated subject matter. Most of the short stories are of just average woman who could be relatable to the reader, yet they are still aware of the underlining theme of the reality of Vancouver. The setting is almost a character itself. Most people do not directly associate drugs, prostitution and poverty with Vancouver because the media does its best to shun any negative representation of the city, whereas Lee boldly exposes the raw reality of Vancouver in a whole.

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