Silent Girl.

Description

192 pages
$22.95
ISBN 978-0-9808822-0-9
DDC C813'.6

Year

2008

Contributor

Reviewed by Lori A. Dunn

Lori A. Dunn is a ESL teacher, instructional designer, and freelance
writer in New Westminster, B.C.

Review

Inspired by the women in Shakespeare’s plays, the stories in this collection are tributes to the female spirit, told in tight, sharp prose. Tricia Dower has delved into the secret lives of women and offers them up in gripping short stories.

 

The stories in the collection are as individual as the women and girls portrayed. The title piece, “Silent Girl,” uncovers a story of youth stolen by the modern-day sex trade, while “Not Meant To Know” captures the transition of a normal 11-year-old girl from childhood to adolescence. In the story “Deep Dark Waters,” a successful professional takes an afternoon out of her busy day to recount her history of surreal abuse to a gathering of women.

 

Dower also moves with ease between cultures. For example, the story “Kesh Kumay” tells of a young woman in the Himalayas who arrives home after a year at university and finds herself at odds with her family and her traditions. She also explores the Black Panther movement in the late 1960s through the eyes of a white woman married to an African-American Vietnam vet dealing with his traumatic experiences in the story “Nobody; I Myself.” The longest story in the collection is “The Snow People: 30-46 AGM,” a stunning piece of speculative fiction about a people who are marginalized in society.

 

Included at the end of the collection is an afterword that explains how each story began with a woman in Shakespeare. From the play Othello, Dower notes, “Watching and reflecting on how willingly Desdemona allowed her life to end, I thought of domestic abuse victims and the seeming collusion of some in their own misfortune.” That thought is reflected in the story whose title quotes one of Desdemona’s lines: “Nobody; I Myself.” On her website, Tricia Dower has created readers’ guides for each story, as well as a video trailer for the whole collection.

 

Dower’s writing is strong, the stories are carefully crafted, and the dialogue is realistic. Each thought-provoking story is memorable despite what appears on the surface to be basic feminist themes of abuse, sexual slavery, and discrimination. This is a very readable collection.

Citation

Dower, Tricia., “Silent Girl.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 19, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/27526.