Tag Archives: Coming of Age

Review: Where The Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing

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.

Hmmm.

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?

Source: Purchased
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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Review: Perennials

Perennials

Perennials
By Mandy Berman
Random House, Hardcover, 9780399589317, June 6, 2017, 288pp.

The Short of It: 

You know that nostalgic feeling you get when looking at an old Polaroid photo? That’s how I felt while reading this book. Youth captured in a snapshot.

The Rest of It:

As kids, Rachel and Fiona spent many wonderful summers at Camp Marigold. Eight glorious weeks of swimming, riding horses and making new friends. Things at home could change, but once they returned to camp, everything fell back into place and all was good with the world. In Perennials, Rachel and Fiona return to camp as counselors and with them is Fiona’s younger sister, Helen who is about to experience camp as they once did many years ago.

Summer camp. Sigh. When I was a kid, I read a lot of books about summer camp and they really had me longing for that experience. It wasn’t until last summer that I actually attended camp (as a leader) and although I wasn’t there as a camper, it was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. In this novel, Berman beautifully captures all the angst and anxiety of pre-teens but she somehow manages to capture the doubts and worries of the young adult counselors as well.

This book is summer, but it’s also life and love and friendship and all the not-so-pleasant stuff that comes with it. There’s a little more “action” between the campers and counselors than I would have liked to see. I am not a prude but since I work with teens and have teens of my own, I was a little sensitive to some parts of the story but at the same time I am far from naive. That said, anyone who is sensitive to language or sexual content may want to think twice before handing the book over to your teen. It’s not marketed as YA but from the cover you might think so.

In the end, I thought it was pretty well done. The final pages were especially poignant and frankly had me all choked-up. Perennials is Berman’s first novel and I look forward to what she writes next.

Source: Purchased
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.