Missing Sarah

Maggie de Vries' memoir about her missing adopted sister was on the shortlist for the Governor General's Literary Award for nonfiction in 2003.

Maggie de Vries

On April 14, 1998, Sarah de Vries disappeared from her usual spot on the corner of Princess and Hastings in Vancouver. She became one of the many women who had vanished from the Downtown Eastside — women, most of them sex workers and drug addicts — whose DNA would later be found on the Pickton farm. Reflecting on her adopted sister's story through Sarah's own poetry and journals and the recollections of those close to her at home and downtown, Maggie de Vries uncovers the portrait of a bright, charismatic woman who found herself trapped in a downward spiral of self-loathing, prostitution, drugs and violence. In this achingly honest book, the reader is drawn into revelations and understanding just as Maggie was. Tragic though it was in many ways, Sarah's life had meaning. (From Penguin Canada)

Missing Sarah was shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award for nonfiction in 2003.

Read an excerpt | More about this book

From the book

Dear Maggie,

I have not written a letter to you for a long time. I feel quite guilty about it too. I can't wait until May because I will be able to stay with you. We have a lot of catching up to do. I can hardly believe that you will be here in two months. Guess what? I might be taking Jazz lessons. I am already taking acting lessons. I'm getting worried about turning 14 in May. I want to know if you thought it is a good age to be. I'm doing fine in school, but I'm not too sure about math. I'm passing everything else. I've got good news, B+ in French. Probably C- to C+ for science, C- to C+ for P.E., C- to C+ in Hum I, C- to C+ in Fine Arts. We have not got our report cards yet, but when I do I will write and tell what my marks are for grade 8. I saw Tootsie. It is a super, great, wonderful movie. You must go see it and tell me what you think of it. Then you must go see Gandhi. It is a super wonderful movie too. I saw the play Taming of the Shrew. It was done in a play where all the characters in it were punk (puke) but it was really funny... Mark [one of her brothers] and I fight more now. Peter [her other brother] and I just don't talk unless we are arguing with each other. We are having chili for dinner tonight. Did you hear about the Marilyn Monroe doll that costs $600 up to $2,000? Have you ever heard the song Industrial Disease yet? Well, I have to go now because my class is over.

Love you all the time, so never forget that I love you.

Love, Sarah de Vries

From Missing Sarah by Maggie de Vries ©2003. Published by Penguin Canada.

More about this book