Awakening

by capreviewroom

By Jeevan Mangat

Nancy Lee, instructor at Simon Fraser University, is the author of the book Dead Girls which was declared book of the year by Now magazine. Lee’s portal of life in Vancouver in the downtown eastside made her a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. Not so surprising as Dead Girls was a very exciting read particularly to a Vancouverite.

Dead Girls, which is told as 8 short stories, illustrates the life of people living in the not so glamorous, disease infested, downtown eastside and  mostly discusses the lives female sex trade workers and a serial killer still at large. This book was an awakening to me because it presented me with a story behind all the missing women that were in the news when I was growing up. Lee has spoken out for these women and let them have a voice when no one else would.  

Lee really opened my eyes and made me take a second look at Vancouver and how I perceive it. As a citizen of this city I was shocked with a lot of what Lee wrote about at first, but as I let her story digest I began to realize that it is us as a society that places areas like the DTES on the back burner and try not to pay it much attention to them and above all it was me who chose not to interest myself in what was going on around me because I felt that it didn’t affect me.  Eventually it takes someone with a great deal of integrity and honesty to expose us to the injustices that were occurring right before our eyes, like Lee did in Dead Girls.

If you live in Vancouver or are associated with Vancouver in anyway you have to take time to read this book it will make you take a long hard look at the way you feel about Vancouver and in particular the downtown eastside.  

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