Highway of Tears

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 26 Nov 2019

Member Reviews

Very well written and interesting story about the disappearances of many indigenous women. The flow was great and the details added to the images I discerned from the story. I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in learning about the culture of the people and the area surrounding Highway 16. 

Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Highway of Tears: A True Story of Racism, Indifference, and the Pursuit of Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is just that - a true story of the individuals and organizations involved with the Highway of Tears. The women and girls who have vanished or been murdered along 415 remote miles of Highway 16 coined as the Highway of Tears are so numerous and poorly investigated/documented (by officers involved and the community) that there isn't even a firm number on how many are connected to it. An exceedingly high number are Indigenous as well as exceedingly high rate of being unsolved. Author Jessica McDiarmid has done a fantastic (albeit difficult) job of combining, preserving and honoring the stories of the victims of the Highway of Tears for the current and future generations to read/witness.

This has been near continuous events spanning decades... DECADES. I'll fully admit that I wasn't aware of such a heart wrenching tale of so many compounding factors working against not only the victims but anyone working to find out what happened to them. I can't help but think of how this would have played out here in the States - I would like to think that it would have never been this tragically bad but I can't honestly answer that. I cannot even fathom what the families and communities have gone through this whole time and most have still received no definitive answers. I will say that until you have kids of your own you don't really understand the emotions that come with being a parent. Getting to know the stories of the victims through the family members and those closest to them really makes this book hit home.

This novel is HEAVY - both in sheer details, information and topic. It's a true crime novel that reads like a documentary. I think that if the chapters were more broken up to cover each victim it would have a more organized feel. I'm not sure if the captions for the photos just weren't in English in the copy that I received or if they were just place holders - I would've loved to know more about the pictures included in the novel. As I said earlier - this novel is heavy and it contains topics some people might be sensitive about. I would suggest this novel to people who enjoy documentaries, true crime and history. Thank you to Atria Books & NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book and have my eyes opened to this extremely heart breaking reality.
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Highway of Tears was set up to be a really great book. The premise was great and the research was really good, but the flow was completely off. Most of the time I felt like I was reading a research paper, and it was completely disjointed.
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Oh, wow. I don't know where to start.

This book took me a while, but not for lack of interest. It's just a hard book. I don’t mean it’s difficult to grasp—McDiarmid has written an incredibly accessible account here, and riveting from start to finish—but it is anything but light and easy. It’s long and difficult, but absolutely necessary reading. 

This book focuses on the missing and murdered Indigenous women of the stretch of road between Prince George and Prince Rupert in Northern British Columbia. The Highway of Tears. I went into this knowing little about the Highway of Tears. I first heard about it on the podcast My Favorite Murder. It seemed impossible to me that hundreds of women could just die or disappear and not have more people talking about it, not have heard about it everywhere. Turns out it's not impossible at all. It's very real and very upsetting, and it's happening still.

It's been going on for decades and I had no idea just how little was being done for the victims, for the families, and for the communities. McDiarmid's voice is steady. She doesn't embellish. She gives you the facts and makes it clear how seriously society and the faculties in place meant to help have so severely failed these women and their families. I'm so angry for them, and so angry at everything that has not changed since this started. It's making it difficult to review this, difficult to put my thoughts into words, to channel that anger and frustration. It's a fraction, if that, of what the families have experienced after decades without answers, decades of people just not caring because these are indigenous women and no one bats an eye when another one just drops off the face of the planet, only to show up again dead, if the families are lucky enough to get that closure at all. I understand that resources are limited and that no amount of investigating is enough for a family seeking answers, but there is still much to be done. The resources available aren't being properly allocated to these cases, and the more bodies that pile up, the more almost...normalized isn't the right word, but there is a certain amount of apathy that seems to follow when after a cursory look into another disappearance bears no new information. It's as if there is this mindset, on some level, behind the disappearances that says when an Indigenous woman disappears on Highway 16, it's "just another Aboriginal girl." She must have been doing something, drinking or hitchhiking or whatever, as if that excuses not looking for them, as if that justifies whatever happened. But I'm just ranting at this point.

I want everyone to pick this book up, to read this, to stay angry for these women. McDiarmid put a ton of work into this, interviewing families to make their stories known and to learn about dead and missing, making the reader see them as more than just another name, another number, another missing girl. It's very compelling literature as a whole, even if it is so completely heartbreaking.

Final thoughts, I guess. At the heart of this, it's good research, it’s good writing, and it is dang good journalism. The only reason it isn't a five-star read is that it could do with some reorganizing. There were moments where it could be a bit disorienting shifting from hard information, facts, etc. to narrative, or jarring changes in scene. It wasn't enough to take me out of the story, but it would benefit from a little more flow.

Thank you very muchly to NetGalley, Jessica McDiarmid, and Atria Books for this free copy in exchange for an honest review.
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It isn't terribly often that you read a book that you feel is really necessary, that you want to press on others and say, "Here. You need to know about this." Jessica McDiarmid has written such a book in Highway of Tears, a look into the disappearances and deaths of young women that took place along a major roadway. 

While McDiarmid is clearly and rightly concerned with justice being done to these young women and their families, her account is an evenhanded one. She examines the economic, historical, racial, and social underpinnings of the victims lives, noting that the RCMP often focused too hard on factors like the juvenile records of the victims, their "risky" behaviors (like hitchhiking), and race. She contrasts the handling of cases involving First Nations members and those that center on blond haired, blue eyed women. Despite this, she also illuminates the individual passion, work ethic, and skill of many members of law enforcement. 

She takes readers into the heart of the loss and pain associated with these disappearances. The not knowing is the worst of all. She describes one family's experience this way: "Otherwise banal occurrences take on new, frightening significance. Sitting at a kitchen table and hearing a cougar scream off in the distance - is that her, out there, needing help? The man who lived nearby, who was always a bit of a weird fellow - was it him? ... It was a thousand imaginings, a thousand stories crashing around at once."

McDiarmid also tells many stories. She discusses how policing works in the Territories, how even major case squads often failed, how victims were placed in a hierarchy, and how various organizations formed to look for justice. Of course, ultimately, even justice won't undo the pain and suffering associated with these events - though it is hoped it might keep them from occurring again. .A worthwhile title for understanding the mystery itself, but also for understanding the vulnerability of women in the world, the workings of law enforcement, First Nations history, and the way that the search for truth and justice can unite many individuals across cultures and years.
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First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Jessica McDiarmid, and Atria Books for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

There is a stretch of road in Northern British Columbia that connects the communities of Prince Rupert and Prince George. Formally known as Highway 16, the road has become known as the Highway of Tears, as scores of women—many indigenous— have gone missing or been murdered along it over the years. While well-known to locals, Jessica McDiarmid seeks to shed light on the issues here for the rest of the world, as Canada wrestles to address the thousands of missing and murdered indigenous women in the country, a group that has long been ignored. McDiarmid, a local of the town of Smithers, returned to her roots to explore the Highway of Tears and offer some of it victims the face they deserve. In telling the stories of these women’s pasts and the time leading up to their disappearances, McDermid seeks not to make them simple statistics, but victims with a voice who cannot speak up for themselves. With small Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) detachments, police efforts have not been what they should and cases are growing dust or going cold before any substantial leads can be developed. McDiarmid posits that there has been a difference in coverage and activity when the victim is caucasian, rather than indigenous, which might also tell the underlying narrative of what is (not) going on. While McDiarmid does not come out and say that there is a single killer on the loose, she offered examples about how there are surely connection crimes over the years, with culpability likely long-since passed. What can be done for the family and friends of these women whose lives were snuffed out too soon? The Federal Government created an inquiry, though even its commissioners have claimed that it is not being run in the traditional indigenous manner. McDiarmid has not answers and cannot assuage the pain families feel, but she has definitely shed light on this national embarrassment, as Canada tries to address all that has been going on. Highly recommended to those who enjoy true crime, as well as the reader interested in a unique piece within the larger non-fiction family.

While I had heard of the Highway of Tears, I was not aware of the extent of the deaths. This book shed some much-needed light onto the topic and helped to educate me about the issue, as well as some of the victims. The book seeks less to offer blame for those in authority than it does to show that there are so many broken cogs in the wheel. Racial discrimination surely plays a role in the police investigating, but resources are stretched so thin and the number of cases continues to grow. These were not an isolated few deaths, as the body continue to go missing and pile up, but little is being done to stop the ongoing safety concerns in the region, many of which McDiarmid addresses in the book. With photos to support the stories she tells, the book heightens its impact with the curious reader. A series of mid-length chapters address numerous issues with the overall investigation, as well as biographical pieces on the families, all of which pulls the tale closer together. Powerfully written and delivered, the reader will surely want to know a great deal more, tapping into McDiarmid’s vast list of cited sources. This is not a book to be missed by those who want to know more, either to educate themselves or advocate those in positions of authority to take action. 

Kudos, Madam McDiarmid, for this wonderful piece. I will have to read a little more on the topic to get a handle.
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"The highway of tears is a lonesome road that runs across a lonesome land."

The plight of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada has increasingly been in the spotlight of late, deservingly so. One relative of a victim quoted in journalist Jessica McDiarmid's Highway of Tears calls it "Canada's dirtiest secret." The statistics are staggering:

"Nationwide, Indigenous women accounted for more than 11 per cent of the total number of missing females, despite making up just 4 per cent of Canada’s female population. Similarly, 16 per cent of female homicide victims were Indigenous women. And, while rates of homicide of non-Indigenous women had been steadily declining since 1980, that of Indigenous women remained constant, leading to their representing an ever-higher proportion of women murdered in Canada."

The Highway of Tears is Highway 16, a 725 kilometer-long stretch of road running across a swath of British Columbia. The disappearances or murders of more than 30 women and girls have been connected to it, the majority of these Indigenous. McDiarmid looks at the highway not only to examine what crimes have transpired on it, but as a lens for examining the violence against Canada's Indigenous population as a whole:

"It is a microcosm of a national tragedy—and travesty... A 2014 Statistics Canada report found Indigenous people face double the rate of violence of non-Indigenous people. Indigenous women and girls in particular ... are six times more likely to be killed than non-Indigenous women. They face a rate of serious violence twice as high as that of Indigenous men and nearly triple that of non-Indigenous women. This is partly because they are more likely to confront risk factors such as mental illness, homelessness and poverty, which afflict Indigenous people at vastly disproportionate rates—the ugly, deadly effects of colonialism past and present. But even when controlling for those factors, Indigenous women and girls face more violence than anyone else. Put simply, they are in greater danger solely because they were born Indigenous and female. As one long-time activist put it, “Every time we walk out our doors, it’s high risk.”

The magnitude of this issue can't be overstated. Canada has started addressing it recently, identifying this disproportional violence against the Indigenous as an "epidemic" and "genocide". This racism is so deeply ingrained though, as McDiarmid highlights how much existing bias has to be overcome. Occasionally a white woman would go missing along the Highway of Tears, with the press and police devoting markedly more attention to her case than to those of the Indigenous women, adding insult to injury for the families of the missing and murdered. The author identifies a clear “hierarchy of female victims” as perceived by both media and law enforcement.

Sometimes there are even truly horrifying open secrets demonstrating how the Indigenous are further victimized. One judge cruised for Indigenous young women and girls to pay for sex, the very same ones who appeared before him in court. He knew exactly who was vulnerable and could be exploited, and McDiarmid says that rumors long circulated before he was finally arrested. Both the racism and the crimes are endlessly layered and intertwined.

What McDiarmid does so excellently is to tell the stories of these women's lives before they came to an end somewhere along the highway. In this it felt very similar to Robert Kolker's excellent Lost Girls, in that both depict the lives and potentials of the murdered women before they fell victim to societal factors that led to their slipping through the cracks and becoming vulnerable. The women here aren't sex workers, but many did become involved with drugs and seedier circumstances due to a myriad of sad factors, but their families and loved ones were optimistic that they had the time and drive to turn things around. Those chances were taken from them.

"Too often, these deaths and disappearances continue to be seen as the result of the victim’s wrongdoing rather than as what they truly are: an ongoing societal failure."

McDiarmid introduces their families, who provide fuller portraits of who these women were, bringing them to life vibrantly. This makes difficult reading though, because the families' pain is massive and ongoing. She also sketches out some of the historical background around why Indigenous people have faced hardships over time.

As troubling as it is to read, it's also where McDiarmid creates emphasis through the strength of her writing. Describing parents devastated when their children were taken to residential schools, and who never recovered from the loss even when they were returned, she writes, "Alcohol filled the chasm left by the eastbound train." These reverberations of pain would be felt through the generations. This is a crucial topic, handled sensitively and affectingly, and as tough as it is, it's too important to look away from.

Although a minority of the murders had strong suspects or clearer circumstances, there's no theory offered about who might've taken the lives of the rest. I can understand why an author wouldn't want to speculate, but after working with all of this information, I would've liked to hear more of what she thought, to get more analysis in this sense. On the other hand, she relates statistics and key information about this epidemic of violence against Canada's Indigenous so well that she makes the message incredibly impacting. That couldn't have been easy to do, considering the sheer volume of information and cases here.

And the women's lives are strikingly told, preserving and sharing something about who they were and were becoming, quietly emphasizing the heartbreak of this troubling epidemic.
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Well-researched and gut wrenching, this novel explores the disappearances of multiple Indigenous women along a stretch of Canadian highway. Focusing on individuals, the author does an amazing job of bringing these women's stories to life, fleshing them out beyond being just "numbers" or "cases", whilst also exploring the plight of violence against Indigenous women in Canada and beyond. 


A special thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Let me start with what I really enjoyed about this book. It was very well researched and it approached a very important subject with a great deal of respect. There was a lot of care and attention  put into retelling the stories of these victims. We generally don’t see that much attention given to the victims in true crime, even for cases that are still unsolved. However, I felt like this book did a really good job of highlighting the lives of the women who unfortunately went missing. The book presented a strong analysis of the treatment of the indigenous since colonial times, and the author reasoned these are the things that may have made the women targets. I appreciated the analysis and felt the author had strong arguments.

Now what didn’t work for me was the organization. I found that it often jumped from idea to idea with no real transition. It would take me three to five paragraphs to understand why the story shifted and how the new idea was tied to the previous idea. Unfortunately, this really hampered the flow of the story. Also, the statistics that were provided were interesting, but I felt like I had to read them over a few times to understand what was being said. I think if they had been presented differently, say with a table of some kind, it would have been a lot easier to follow. 

That being said, this is a highly moving story and I would still recommend reading it. It is a highly important story that needs to be told and I think the author did an amazing job crafting the stories of these women. It's been one of the best sources on this topic that I have found so if you can look past the few flaws, then it is worth it.
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Since the 1970s, thousands of Indigenous teenaged girls and women along Highway 16 in British Columbia have gone missing and been murdered. The true number isn’t known. In Highway of Tears, Jessica McDiarmid blends heartbreaking stories about the missing and murdered and their families’ struggles to find answers with the many mistakes and prejudices that lead to this human rights crisis. This book will rightly make readers sob and burn with anger.

Many of the chapters of Highway of Tears center on individual cases of teenagers and women. They are horribly similar. Young girls with promise make plans to visit, go to a party, or just go to work by hitchhiking and are never heard from again. Sometimes they just vanish. Other times, their bodies are found months or years later. Most of the time, the missing are labeled as runaways and little investigation was done. Their families advocate for years to try and get media attention and government action for the missing girls and women. Later in the book, McDiarmid talks about multiple commissions and taskforces that reviewed the original work by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In many cases, there is frustratingly little information to go on. Only a few cases are ever solved.

About a third of the way into Highway of Tears, McDiarmid turns her attention to the glaring question of how so many girls and women could have gone missing and never had their cases solved. She discusses the long history of racism against Indigenous people and the systematic way that the British and Canadian governments have stripped them of land, economic opportunity, legal rights, language, culture, and children (by taking them to abusive residential schools or by putting them into the foster system). She reveals the deeply, almost insurmountably antagonistic relationship between the RCMP and Indigenous communities; sometimes the name of the RCMP in the Indigenous languages translates to “war makers” or “those who take us away.” When Mounties are transferred from community to community, they never get a chance to get to know the people they serve or learn to banish deep rooted prejudices about Indigenous people.

It’s only recently, after years of advocacy, that the Canadian government has started to devote resources to the Highway of Tears cases—years, decades too late for justice. In some instances, perpetrators are found to have died in the years since they committed their crimes. The lack of attention paid by the RCMP and the Canadian government is especially galling when McDiarmid mentions the case of Nicole Hoar, a Caucasian woman who went missing on the highway, who received exponentially more attention in the media and from the police. There are good investigators in the RCMP, who care about the missing, that McDiarmid highlights for their efforts to find answers. But it’s hard not to condemn the entire RCMP for years of failure to help Indigenous people.

Highway of Tears tells a history that needs to be widely known. What happened to these girls, women, their families, and their people should never have happened. Indigenous lives matter. All lives matter, of course, but it’s clear that Indigenous lives have been treated as though they don’t, and McDiarmid makes it clear that a lot still needs to change in order to make the region safer: better transportation, better communication, better investigations. Most of all, the racism and prejudice towards Indigenous people has to change. And yet, Highway of Tears ends on a chord (not just a note) of mixed resignation, healing, and hope that things may be different in the future. Some of the families, those who learned what happened to their missing, have found a measure of peace. We can only hope that all the thousands of other mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, and uncles will also get the answers to their questions, and be able to heal, too.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for this eGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Jessica McDiarmid's debut true crime novel tackles the tough topic of murdered young women who have disappeared throughout the years. However, these aren't just any young women, they are aboriginals. These poor young women disappeared on what is known as The Highway of Tears located in Canada. The book gives insight into the road itself and the disappearance of some of these women. There were some who were found dead and there were others who were unfortunately never found. This heartbreaking story tells not only of the disappearances, but of the anguish and agony the families go through over their missing loved ones wondering if they will ever see their family member alive again. McDiarmid's novel also highlights the injustices these women faced. There were no helicopter searches. No trained search dogs. No public outcry. No publicity whatsoever. Yet, when a young white female went missing all of these things were put in place to help try and find her and return her safely to her family. These aboriginal families did all that they could to try and find their loved ones, but were turned away with excuses being given and resources being left untouched. 

This story is hard to read and I had to step away from it a couple times. It is a good true crime read and will open your eyes to the racial bias and injustices of these poor women.  McDiarmid is a fantastic investigative journalist and she dug deep into the story of The Highway of Tears and really conveyed a sad yet compelling story. She artfully mixed story with facts and I felt like this book was the product of a Dateline or 20/20 expose. I really enjoyed the fact that there were specific examples given, it made the book even more realistic and it allowed for me to connect in a way I might not have been able to had it just been a general story. 

One thing I think is of important note is the fact that this book is very statistic heavy. I personally thought it really cemented the gravity of the story, but I can see how it might be too much for some. The statistics also helped present how much the Canadian justice system failed these poor young women.
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This true crime book is the first by journalist Jessica McDiarmid. She tackles the sad, yet powerful topic of the many missing and murdered young aboriginal females who have disappeared through the years along the road that is called The Highway of Tears in Canada. It gives some good background on the road and on the young women who have disappeared.. Some were eventually found dead, others never were found at all, leaving the families in agony, always to wonder about their loved one. The pain is only intensified when occasionally a young white female would go missing and the response would be so great to help the family search. It just exaggerated the size of the canyon of difference between what happened when an aboriginal family needed help after their child went missing, namely not much. No great outpouring of people and sympathy and funds for flyers and a reward. No helicopters or trained search dogs. Many mostly ignored for the first couple of days, turned away with excuses.

This is a really good read with true crime, racial bias and injustice, and more. You can see that the author has really done a deep dive on the subject   Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Jessica McDiarmid, and the publisher.
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This book is heartbreaking, captivating, and so important. Very heavy, but it's a heavy subject. I'm so happy I got the opportunity to read this.
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First thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wow what an amazing book and stunned that this is the authors debut.  An eye opening journey into the lives and the history of Highway 16 in British Columbia, Canada.  I have heard about the Highway of Tears through some documentaries and such but like most people didn't pay much attention to it.

You need to!  As a society we should be ashamed to not only have let this happen but continue to let it happen.  The author does a terrific job of balancing the stories of some of the lost souls and their families as well as telling the history of the Highway and the constant struggle of getting action taken.

This is a must read - I couldn't put it down and I recommend you don't either.
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Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley

I don’t know when I first heard about The Highway of Tears (Highway 16 in BC, from Prince George to Prince Rupert). Most likely when I was reading about women dying on the border between the US and Mexico (there are parallels). I also know that it is more of sign than an abnormality both in the US and Canada. While I have read a few books on the subject, Jessica McDiarmid’s book is one of the best.

McDiarmid covers not only some of the cases that make up the Highway of Tears, what is more important, she spends time placing the murders in context and showing the families as more than just victims, and how such families are really not disposable no matter what society thinks. McDiarmid also presents the viewpoint of police as well as the reasons for the far less than cordial relationships between the Indigenous Community and police. She also details the various community efforts to get answers.

But if you are picking up this book, you know that the story isn’t a happy one.

It is to McDiarmid’s credit that she not only presents the victims as real people whose absence greatly affects those around. The taking one life impacts a community and that is detailed. More importantly, the history of the area in general and in terms of Indigenous populations as well as their treatment at the hands of the government. She also refers to other cases, such as the Pickton murders and the Gilbert Paul Jordan murders. The Highway of Tears isn’t quite as unique as you may hope it to be. The report that came out at the end of the summer was not referred to in this digital ARC, not surprising given the time frame.

In part, the book does also challenge us to do better – not only terms of Canada and the Indigenous Women there but also those in the United States because there really isn’t that much difference unless it is that Canada situation is drawing more national and international attention.

McDiarmid’s writing is engrossing and she carries the reader well. She lets the emotions of the people speak for themselves instead of trying gilding them with flowery phrases. It is the language that makes the details of the book far more chilling.
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3 "empathic, well-researched but much rewriting/reorganizing needed" stars !!

Thank you to Netgalley, the author and Atria Books for a copy of this e-book in exchange for my review.

There are thousands of unsolved cases of missing and/or murdered aboriginal women and adolescent girls across Canada. This is a very dark stain on our country and needed to be addressed since Colonial times. I am aghast that our refugees are given a fair number of opportunities while our indigenous people have subpar healthcare, few addiction resources and a hypervigilance on taking the children away from caregivers. The poverty on some of the reservations is abysmal and there continues to be horrible victim blaming on these first nations.

This book focuses on a number of women that have gone missing or murdered in Northern British Columbia. The author compassionately and empathetically tells many of the stories through the eyes of families and loved ones. There are wonderful photographs of both the women and families and my heart broke over and over again on their pain, their struggle and their grief.

The author also in a balanced way examines the constraints and inadequacies of our RCMP, government agencies and social service organizations. There is some history and sociology thrown in to give a fuller picture of why Indigenous peoples continue to be impoverished, victimized and vilified.

This book could have and should have been five stars except that much of the writing was middling, the stats could have been presented in tables and the flow from facts to narrative could have been more artfully and compellingly done. This detracted from the immense importance of this topic.

The research and interviews are complete. The finished product is not.

May these womens' souls be blessed and rest at peace.
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This book is as much a treatise on the inner workings of the RCMP and its failings as it is the story of the young Indigenous women who have been kidnapped and murdered along a fateful strip of highway in British Columbia. The stories of these women and the testimony of their very often broken families are only made worse by the prevalent racism and laissez-faire attitudes of the police force that was supposed to solve the crimes. An incredibly in-depth and absolutely heart-wrenching look not just at the tales of these crimes but at the insurmountable odds native peoples seem to face when it comes to getting justice.
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Huge thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for gifting me a copy of this book.

This was such a heartbreaking read. I had to step away and take breaks while reading, therefore it took longer than it normally would for me to read a book of this size. Women and girls began disappearing along Highway 16 back in the 1990s, and now, decades later, the estimated number of connected cases is now up to 4,000. 4,000 missing or murdered women and teenage girls. Let that sink in.

I wouldn’t even call what the police did an “investigation”. These women and their families were completely failed by those sworn to protect them. I am the mother of two daughters. I have sisters. And I cannot fathom one of my vulnerable loved ones disappearing, never to be looked for, never given much of a thought. I can’t imagine the police not taking me seriously when I demand they search for my daughter or my sister. These families had no one to count on but themselves. I think it is absolutely disgusting the way these missing and murdered women were treated. Leads weren’t followed, tips weren’t followed up on or were tossed aside and deemed irrelevant. They refused to say the cases were connected.

This was a true act of racism — the fact that many of these women came from less than favorable backgrounds (drugs, prostitution, bad family life) caused the police to throw their hands up and claim they had just run away or that this was just the kind of thing that happens to someone when they live that type of lifestyle.

McDiarmid is a fantastic investigative journalist. She dug deep into these stories and made me feel so much sadness for the victims and their families. Reading this book felt like watching an episode of 20/20, with the perfect mix of hard facts and a storyline. I loved that she gave us specific examples of victims so that we could put names (and faces, in fact -- the book contains photos of each of the women written about) to these cases and truly grasp what their families had to go through. Some of these women have never been found.

This book is very statistic heavy, so do keep that in mind when reading. I didn’t expect as many statistics, but including it assisted in painting a clear pictures of the systemic racism and discrimination against Indigenous people in that area of Canada. The statistics were also helpful in piecing together just how badly these families were failed by everyone in the Canadian justice system.

This was an eye-opening read and I would recommend it to anyone who likes true crime or nonfiction.

I will be posting my review to Goodreads, my blog, and Instagram on 10/24. I will post to Amazon on the publication date.
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Informative, meticulously researched and heartbreaking, this book tells the story of girls and women that are all too often overlooked when it comes to victims of violent crime. It's obvious that this author is passionate, and it's reflected in every sentence. This was enlightening and full of information even jaded true crime readers will find moving. Great read.
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This is a book long overdue, about the terrible missing and murdered Native women of British Columbia, Canada. The book is well written and covers many of the victims lives in a personal way, which makes the tragedies all the more terrible. Everyone who has half a conscience should read this. We all have to acknowledge the fact that if we live in North America it's because the Natives were pushed around, pushed out and killed on a massive scale, and are still victimized.  It exposes the incredibly lax attitude of the RCMP.
While the book is excellent I think it weighs itself down at the beginning of each chapter by overloading us with statistics. "X% of Native blah blah blah", "while whites comprise the minority of....the percentage of Natives is...." Goes on like this for pages.
Personally I find this extremely boring. Two sentences at the top of each chapter would have not just sufficed but they would have had far more impact. Having to drag my feet through all the percentages etc is no fun.
As it should be, this book is not a self help book for Native Americans who have troubles. But on a personal level it is clear to the reader that it's time for Native peoples to change. Not to become White, no, not at all. But it is time for elders to recognize that Native people have a genetic problem with alcohol. It's time for each and every member to recognize that having children with virtually no income is a disaster leading to death. Thank the determined people who fought to get their lands and rights back. Now, rebuild your culture.
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