Where The Crawdads Sing
By Delia Owens
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780735219090, August 2018, 384pp.
The Short of It:
A coming-of-age story interwoven with nature and a touch of mystery.
The Rest of It:
I would say first and foremost that Where The Crawdads Sing is a coming-of-age story. But then, when you find yourself all wrapped up in the story, someone gets murdered.
Kya and her family live in the marsh. They are considered by the rest of the town as “marsh people”. Poor, scrappy, wild. Kya’s father is a straight-up drunk who beats his wife and anyone else who comes between him and his drink. One day, Kya’s mom just walks away from all of it (her husband, the shack, her four children) and leaves them all to fend for themselves. Then her sisters leave. Then her brother. Kya, at the age of 5 is left to manage the household and when her father eventually leaves, she’s forced to make do with what she has.
The story follows Kya as she struggles to piece together an existence. Her one saving grace, is the marsh itself. Kya sees the beauty all around her each and every day, but when she becomes a beautiful, young woman, she gets the attention of the town’s number one player, Chase Andrews, and it leads to trouble.
I really enjoyed the first three-quarters of Where The Crawdads Sing. The writing was lovely and I loved Kya’s will to survive and all the environmental elements of marsh life made reading this story a real treat. But I didn’t care for the mystery thread which felt a little tacked-on to me. I also felt that the trial at the end of the book was almost an after-thought. It felt out-of-place to me.
This book has gotten a lot of attention and praise. It has been chosen for numerous book clubs and there is plenty to discuss, but if I had my choice I would have skipped the murder plot all together.
Have you read it? What did you think of it?
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