There I was on vacation with a couple of books from the “Canada proud books” I won a couple of years ago that I simply haven’t gotten to. Stolen Sisters was the first one I grabbed up. It’s not a very large book and I thought it would be a quick read on a quiet afternoon when the lads were out kayaking. Two girls have gone missing and we’re drawn into the politics and ideology surrounding their disappearance.
The Basic Details of Stolen Sisters
Title: Stolen Sisters: The Story of Two Missing Girls, Their Families, and How Canada Has Failed Indigenous Women
Author: Emmanuelle Walter
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Intended Audience: 8-12 years
Genre: Indigenous, Canada, Police, Missing Women, true crime,
Available formats: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
About the story
Maisy Odjick and Shannon Alexander, indigenous teenagers from western Quebec, who have been missing since September 2008. Using personal testimonies, interviews, press clippings and official documents, Walter pieces together the disappearance and loss of these two young lives, revealing these young women to us through the voices of family members and witnesses.
I expected a story about these girls and a working through of the mystery surrounding their disappearance. That’s how the excerpt read to me.
I was wrong. The disappearance of these two girls is a background to the politics and ideology surrounding the lack of action with the disappearance of indigenous women. We are introduced to cultural aspects (for instance: poor people, finding jobs, can’t afford a car, so need to hitchhike). The backdrop of indigenous children being taken from their homes and the breakup of entire families, and the resultant issues arising from that (such as: drunkenness, lack of involvement from the community). A variety of other issues were brought into play such as stereotypes, racism, and more.
I got about 1/2 way through and said “I’m done.” If I had wanted to read a treatise on all possibilities leading to indigenous women disappearing, or the maybes of why so many cases are left unsolved, and such like I would have continued. But I was more interested in reading about these girls in a real way, not in a clinically detached way.
I wanted to understand the viewpoint (and perhaps the frustrations) of the police or native law-keepers in trying to solve this mystery. Having all the “other stuff” interposed into that story would have made it more interesting and seem more relevant rather than like a bunch of guess work and supposition about why the solve rate of these disappearances is so low.
I may try to give it a go another time, but for a read on vacation, this simply wasn’t it. But honestly, now that I’m home for a bit, I still don’t want to finish it. That feeling persists EVEN THOUGH I hate leaving a book once started unfinished. 🙂
Homeschooling for high school students seeking to know about true crime and to understand the reasons why some crimes have low solve rates.
Good for helping with critical thinking. Could all the reasons the author listed by solved, or even be part of the problem? Are solutions possible?
Understanding the impact of history on a present population.
Seeking to understand how communities operate affect the lives of the youth living within them.