Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Updated: Apr 10
★★★★ (Mama Scale)
Kya Clark — the marsh girl — doesn't have much to offer. Left to her own devices at a young age, Kya learns how to fend for herself in the quiet of the South Carolina marsh. But, it seems, that despite her unassuming life, there is a lot expected of her and a lot assumed about her. Kya's is a tale of growing up but also of letting go; of learning how to find yourself, and care for yourself despite being constantly tossed all of life's hardships.
What in the world do I say about this book that hasn't already been said? Delia Owen's WHERE THE CRAWDAD'S SING has sat, perched atop the NYT Bestseller list for 20 consecutive weeks. TWENTY! Two. Zero. That's straight-up nuts! Needless to say, there was A LOT of high expectation going into this one for me. The bar was raised, for sure, and I'd like to say, for me, it was juuust about reached.
WHAT I LOVED: First and foremost, this book was beautifully written. Owens' syntax and imagery are top notch! Kya's, is honestly one of my favorite voices this year. Her innocence, laced with her deep love for nature, weaved into her journey of understanding her family's abandonment was a real treat to read. There were so many beautiful moments for Kya: From her relationship with Tate, to Jumpin and his wife, to her deep and abiding love and respect for the marsh, she grew before my eyes and I felt almost proud to know her.
The second aspect that made this book truly special was Owen's skill at weaving a murder trial into the plot line. Man, this was impressive. I think this is the aspect that sets this book a part and has made it so popular. The "who-done-it" intrigue, mixed in with interior conflict and the struggle of growing up, (ALSO) mixed in with the history of the segregated south, gave every lover of thriller, drama, and history a little bite of the delicious literary pie. Really masterfully done.
WHAT I DIDN'T LOVE: OK. (Sometimes, I really hate this part... cringe...) There were two aspects I did not like about this book: The poetry and the ending. The poetry weaved throughout felt a little forced for me. Kya is seen as this meek and timid girl. Maybe I'm closed minded to how smart Kya really was, but I couldn't quite wrap my mind around her love for such sweeping feminist poetry. Who taught her this love? Jumpin's wife? Some random woman we never met? I understand the observational side of cataloguing the land, but the poetry just felt a little far-fetched for her scientific mind. Secondly, the ending. BAH. I really did not like the ending. For the sake of avoiding spoilers, I'm just going to go ahead and leave it at that. I think Owens opted for the thrill over true resolve. I understand why she wrote the ending this way, but it was one that did not suffice for me. If anyone wants to help me wrap my mind around the ending, feel free to email/ DM me. I haven't sufficiently detoxed from that one yet. Hah!
Overall, a beautiful, intriguing, and impressive novel.
For sure! I'd be dumb to say "no". For all you lovers of history, mystery, family drama, or nature, this one is for you! (Also, a hands-down, a ★★★★★ audiobook recommendation!)
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