Quill and Quire

REVIEWS

« Back to
Book Reviews

Resurrection: The Kidnapping of Abby Drover

by John Griffiths

Reaching back across 23 years into a windowless concrete cell, John Griffiths’ Resurrection recreates the kidnapping, sexual abuse, starvation, and six-month confinement of 12-year-old Abby Drover in Port Moody, B.C.

While the police and Drover’s family frantically searched for Drover, she was being held captive in an underground cell less than half a block from her own home. Her neighbour and abductor Donald Hay led search parties for Drover and offered support to her family. Unbeknownst to local police or members of the community, Hay was also a convicted sex offender.

This is a gripping story of real-life horror and suspense, written with Drover’s co-operation. While a certain momentum is lost once Abby escapes and begins her remarkable recovery, the book provides a depth of analysis often missing from victims’ tales by revealing information about her abductor’s motives and helping the reader somehow grasp the incomprehensible.

Griffiths’ straightforward journalistic style is a reflection of the years he spent with Vancouver’s Province newspaper, though hints of his outrage at Hay’s unsupervised passes from prison threaten his objectivity.

Even though some light is shed on Hay, the picture is still dim. Initially denying culpability, Hay gradually gained some understanding and acknowledgement of his crime and at one point said to a CBC reporter, “I’m just very, very sorry it had to happen.”

As it turns out, Drover was not, as Hay claimed, his only victim. Faith Gilpin and a friend had also been sexually abused by Hay. Gilpin later committed suicide. Three other women have since come forward to allege that Hay assaulted them in the 1970s. The new charges against Hay will be heard in the Supreme Court in Vancouver in November 1999.

Books on violent crimes can be either tawdry and titillating or illuminating. Resurrection falls into the second category by adding to our understanding of not only violence and sadism but also of human endurance and hope. It is a highly commendable work and makes for good reading. – by Cathleen Fillmore, a writer based in Nova Scotia.