A Different Look at Vancouer

by capreviewroom

Nancy Lee’s Dead Girls is a collection of eight short stories, all of which are roughly thirty pages long. She takes us away from the advertised beauty of Vancouver, and plunges into a much darker side that people are not often exposed to. All the stories are interesting to the point that you won’t want to put the book down until you’ve read one to the end, but aren’t so long that you’ll be up all night just trying to find out how it finished. Despite the length of these stories in number of pages, Lee does a great job of capturing her characters’ emotions, sometimes through directly telling the reader how the character feels, or by letting us draw our own connections from what we can imagine.
The book opens with “Associated Press”, a story about a woman torn between two men, one whom she is in a relationship with and the other whom she truly loves. It is told from the point of view of the woman talking to herself, which creates a greater sense of frustration for the reader, but also makes it easier to relate to the story. Another story, “Valentines”, involves three teenagers who are in one’s basement enjoying the freedom of having someone’s parents out of town. Lee manages to create portrayals of familiar personalities that most have bared witness to while growing up, be it the girl desperate to look older, the boy who looks older for his age and in turn uses this trait to convey power, or the slow to develop boy who lacks self confidence. The last story, “Sisters” tells of a classic sibling rivalry between sisters, over a boy, which turns into a not-so-classic story of one of them running away to Vancouver.
The entire Dead Girls collection deals with relationships, and how they are a two-way street. Just because one person got their way does not mean that everyone is happy about the decision, and every story in this book involves one person’s decision destroying another’s life. A great book that makes you take a look at your own life, as well as the darker side of the city of Vancouver.
-David Frank

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