What Where They Thinking?

by capreviewroom

Nancy Lee’s Dead Girls is a fictional collection of short stories, which does a fantastic job by including very detailed, descriptive scenes accompanied with flawless writing. Each story serves to provides an analysis on how the writer views missing “girls” in society, and implements the themes of loss, individualism, and family carefully in each short story.

In the first short story, Associated Press, we can see alienation through the female narrator who obsesses over “the boy” who she accepts all bad behavior from, but still tries to keep up with her normal life when he is not around. “ You were someone else when that boy was in town” (Lee 23)

Individualism, another predominant theme, is showed through the short stories East and Sisters. In East we can see how two women are trying to escape the security that their current life has, and are trying to be more individualistic as well as adventurous. This is shown when they went to rocks at a prison just for fun shouting “You fucking freaks! I hope they rape the shit out of you!” (Lee 245)  and then we can also see the attempt of one of them to get back to their routine life when she says “Okay. We did it. Now let’s go”  (Lee 241).

Sisters has a theme of individualism as well as a family in it. We see how a girl runs out of her home, mother and sister, to pursue a life with a guy who it ultimately doesn’t work out but still gives her a sense of independence as she chooses to live in the city as a consequence of it. By doing this she destroys her small family, but Lee shows a shocking ending when the other sister who has been betrayed by the older sister still has enough warmth and forgiveness to go visit her older sister and still cares for her. She says, “I’m going to visit Nita” (Lee 439). Here we can also see how people are ultimately good inside, and no matter how much suffering they may encounter, it will just make them a better person at the end. It was a brilliant way for Lee to end her book with.

As for Young Love, which is about a drug addict nurse, who experiences a loss in every area of her life, as she proves she has no goals, is drifting through life, and misses being desirable to men. When she decides to have sexual intercourse with a younger guy while being affected with drugs she says, “His body was harder than I remembered bodies ever being.” (Lee 288)

So my question upon completing this novel was: What where these “dead” girls thinking? In each story Lee did a fantastic job at looking to in-depth problems that women face in every stage of their life, and how these also affect the society in which they live in, for example the missing women in Vancouver East side which she found while she was searching for a theme on which to write this book about. Lee also has told the press that she followed the advice of a fortuneteller, which changed her way of viewing life. She said to her “You’re doing the wrong thing in your life and until you do the right thing you’ll never be happy. We can see how the long quest for happiness and not knowing how to obtain it also reflects in the way she writes her book.


“Grim Theme Seems Prescient-June 9, 2002.” http://WWW.MISSINGPEOPLE.NET. Web. 21 Mar. 2012. <http://www.missingpeople.net/grim_theme-june_9,_2002.htm&gt;.

Lee, Nancy. Dead Girls. London: Faber, 2004. Print.

By: Alejandra R


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