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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
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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

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  2,163 ratings  ·  321 reviews
In the vein of the astonishing and eye-opening bestsellers I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and The Line Becomes a River, this stunning work of investigative journalism follows a series of unsolved disappearances and murders of Indigenous women in rural British Columbia.

Along northern Canada’s Highway 16, a yellow billboard reads GIRLS, DON’T HITCHHIKE. KILLER ON THE LOOSE. The hi
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published November 12th 2019 by Atria Books (first published September 24th 2019)
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Average rating 4.29  · 
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Start your review of Highway of Tears: A True Story of Racism, Indifference, and the Pursuit of Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Oct 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: feminists and social justice seekers of all genders
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
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: BAM (the Bibliophile)
Shelves: netgalley
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 wel
Valerity (Val)
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 i ...more
Julie Christine
The Highway of Tears is a 735 kilometer stretch of lonely road between the coastal town of Prince Rupert and Prince George, in British Columbia's sparsely populated northeast, where countless numbers of women and girls have been found murdered or have simply vanished. The overwhelming majority of these victims is Indigenous.

Investigative journalist Jessica McDiarmid lays out the evidence to implicate Canadian settler history and contemporary Canadian political, legal and cultural structures in
Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book!

I'm a huge true crime nut, but that said I am definitely aware that there are a number of problematic issues that come with the genre. One of those is that many of the stories that really take off due to media scrutiny involve victims who are white women, whereas victims who are POC tend to be lost in the shuffle. One of the most tragic and egregious examples of this is the Highway of Tears in Canada, where over the years dozens of I
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
Christine (Queen of Books)
Highway of Tears was published last fall, and it was about time. This book is about the Indigenous women and girls who went missing, and murdered, along Highway 16 in Canada. Many of these cases remain unsolved.

It is hard to believe that there haven't been a dozen books published on this. But it's also not... The author, though not Indigenous herself, details the circumstances that put Native women at higher risk for tragedy, and that often led to unsuccessful investigations into what happened
Jun 15, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a heartbreaking, difficult-to-read account of just some of the more than a thousand Indigenous women and girls who've gone missing or who have been found murdered along the so-called "Highway of Tears" in western Canada. Jessica McDiarmid does a good job of showing how the continual failure by the RCMP and the Canadian government to take these losses seriously is just one manifestation of a deeply ingrained racism against First Nations People in Canada. (For another, see all the horrific ...more
Kara Passey
Feb 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
don’t get me wrong, 5 stars for the quality of the info and the importance of the issues, but I think this would’ve worked better for me as a physical book not the audiobook. I found it kind of hard to keep track of when the chapters and stories were starting and ending. this could be a me problem but it was a problem nonetheless. also the author was not present in this story much at all so the couple times she was I was kinda thrown. I just think I would’ve been able to keep track of everything ...more
The Library Ladies
(originally reviewed at )

Thanks to NetGalley for sending me an eARC of this book!

I’m a true crime aficionado to the bone, and I have been for as long as I can remember. But I do recognize that there are problematic issues within this genre that should definitely be acknowledged and worked on. One of those issues is that the stories that usually get paid the most attention to involve pretty white women victims, and other victims, especially POC, are not as widely acknowled
Oct 21, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
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 th
Natalie Carbery
Talking about Highway of Tears is challenging. This is more than true crime. This is more than a nightmare. This is an outright call to action.

McDiarmid's journalism is excellent. She is unflinching in her dissection of crime. Each section about an individual woman is crafted beautifully, touching on life, death and legacy. Poverty and circumstance are never permitted to color how each subject is presented - this book has no victim blaming. More than that, however, McDiarmid recognizes the fa
Meaghan Ethier
Extremely well-written, completely devastating, and entirely appalled at this country's willingness to continue to ignore this issue even though thousands of women are missing or murdered and continue to go missing or be murdered today. Although I had read of the RCMP dropping the ball on this issue before, I still find it shocking how willing policing authorities are to delay an investigation due to blame being placed on the victim, and how little families knew of their loved one's investigatio ...more
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"A penetrating and deeply moving account of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls of Highway 16, and a searing indictment of the society that failed them."

I don't really have anything to add.

Read this book.
Karla Strand
I appreciated this investigation by journalist Jessica McDiarmid about the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women along Highway 16 in British Columbia, dubbed the Highway of Tears. There's a lot of information included and presented in a well-organized, readable manner. ...more
Amy Sturgis
This is an important book for anyone who wants to understand the crisis of #MMIWG (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls) in general and the tragic history of the Highway of Tears in particular. Although it's not a perfect work, it offers a very useful introduction to the crimes, the victims and their families, and the deeply flawed system that has failed to respond adequately to these murders and the issues that made them possible. ...more
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a powerful, motivating and heartbreaking exposé of the disregard given to the lives of Indigenous girls and women in Canada. Over 1,000 women have gone missing or whose murdered bodies have been found along one highway in a 30 year time span, and a vast majority of the crimes remain unsolved still.

McDiarmid does a wonderful job of portraying the victims as they were: loved ones, sisters, and friends, and bringing to light the misjustice they’ve been served.

“Infamously (Prime Minister)
Books, Tea, Healthy Me
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Highway of Tears is an important look at racial relations, their history, and impact on the current time. It provides the perfect balance of background information with current crime investigation so the reader can see the full scope of the issues. You will get to know the victims and their families so you can see and feel the impact of the crimes. There is quite a lot of information here that makes for a very interesting read.

Thank you to NetGalley for my copy of this book in exchange for my ho
Mama Cass
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I had no idea that this kind of racism against the Indigenous people occurs in Canada, of all places. Mcdiarmid broke my heart and left me in tears and very angry. She writes about the thousands of Indigenous women and teenagers who have gone missing or found raped, tortured and murdered, along a stretch of highway in B.C. There's background on some of the victims and their families, the poverty and the apathetic attitude of the government. A definitive and well written must read. ...more
Sophie Thornton
May 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: get-smarter
Heartwrenching, and so close to home. Every Canadian should read this.
Laura Hoffman Brauman
Dozens of Indigenous women have been murdered or gone missing along highway 16 in British Columbia. McDiarmid looks at the both the murders and disappearances and digs into how race, class, and socio-economic status impacts these crimes and the attempts to solve them. There was a lot to think about in this one. If you like true crime with a social justice focus, this is a good choice.
Carolyn Klassen
A well-researched, emotional account of the dozens of women and girls lost to Northern B.C.'s Highway 16. While the author is not indigenous, I felt she gave ample space to the voices of parents and grandparents, siblings, and friends of the lost, beloved victims. The narration was hands-off, little focus on the reporter and her gathering of evidence, testimonies, and theories. She cast herself as an observer rather than a loud and confident investigator. She allowed those hurting from their los ...more
Gare Billings
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a true crime junkie and I had heard about the Highway of Tears through my favorite podcast My Favorite Murder and when I heard that a lot of the victims were indigenous women, I was immediately focused in on this case. I am Native American and I live by the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation along the border of Canada where a lot of women have also gone missing without any resolution or much done regarding finding out what happened.

Highway of Tears is a harrowing look into the missing women alon
In continuing Native American Heritage Month in the US, this sounded like a sad and sadly needed read. Native and Indigenous women in both the US and Canada (and elsewhere I assume but I'm not as familiar) face horribly high rates of violence. There is unfortunately the "Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women" who represent the girls and women who have simply disappeared without a trace. Law enforcement does not make the effort to look for them.

Activism to push law enforcement has made some prog
Nikki Keating
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an eye opening and sad book for me. I actually give it 3.5 stars because it lacked organization and seemed to jump around a lot. But the information on the bias and racism involved in these missing Indigenous girls was heartbreaking.
Michael Huntone
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was really difficult to read- but a much needed eye opening. I was not as familiar with the difficulties indigenous people faced and still face in Canada, compared to here in the US, and was just as sad to see much of the same history of abuse we have perpetrated against these people here. Most disturbing of course is the little value the system and people seems to place on the life of indigenous women. What a blow McDiarmid strikes for them though- this is a book that strikes at the heart, ...more
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this.
Heather Munao
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Highway of Tears is very well-researched: the facts of the girls’/women’s lives and disappearances, how treaty law and other historical developments brought us to this sad place, residential schools, statistics and stories on indigenous children in foster care, comments from victims’ families and detectives, the contrasts in cases of white girls/women, the sustained efforts of the families to create change... The effect of it all is very powerful and really presents MMIG/W as an urgent national ...more
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
overall an emotional & heart-breaking read.

this issue has been a part of canada (& the u.s) for so many years. i can't even begin to imagine how the families of the missing individuals must feel (on top of all the systemic violence & generational trauma)

since i listened to the novel on audiobook, it was difficult to follow the different storylines with numerous names mentioned throughout. however, i appreciated the author taking the time to thoroughly research the topic because there was a lot o
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Obsessed with Tru...: Highway of Tears 11 28 Jan 10, 2020 05:10PM  

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Jessica McDiarmid is a Canadian journalist who has worked across North America and Africa. Her first book, Highway of Tears, was a finalist for the RBC Taylor Prize and the Hubert Evans Prize and a national bestseller.

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