Review: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

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☆☆➹⁀☆ 5 stars ☆➹⁀☆☆

 

About the Book:

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

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Guest Reviewer Frannie’s Thoughts:

The story is about a poor, young girl named Kya Clark who lives in a marsh and is ridiculed by the local town people who nicknamed her “Marsh Girl.”  When she was only six years old, her mother abandons her family, and one by one the older siblings also leave to escape the cruel treatment of their father.  Kya is left alone to cope with an absent, drunk and abusive father.  Eventually he leaves her too, and for 10 years she was forced to learn how to navigate a life alone in the swamp near Barkley Cove on the northern Carolina coastline.     

Kya is resilient and learns to survive on her own.  As she grows up there are two young men who come into her life and provide her with the hope of having a normal life, family and love.  A wildlife scientist, Tate was her older brother’s friend and teaches Kya how to read and write.  They had been friends since she was very small and she was crushed when he goes away to college. 

When she had attempted to go to school she was judged, ridiculed and bullied, by the people of the town and hounded by the school system to attend school.  After her father left her, she knew she had to stay away from the school officials or she would become a ward of the court. 

The other young man was Charles Andrews, the “Golden Boy” of the town and local football legend and aristocrat.  Both Tate and Charles were attracted to Kya’s intelligence and wild beauty.  However, the book takes another twist when Charles graduates from high school and was found murdered in 1969.  Everyone points the finger at Kya, which only added to her isolation and desperation.  She had no money to hire an attorney or the skills to battle an entire town, the police during an investigation, or the court room drama.  A group of people decide to support Kya, even though it is a long shot that they would be able to get her off the allegations of murder.  Who will win?             

Delia’s writing is poetic and has a lyrical rhythm that offers vivid descriptions of the wildlife, the swamp and all the characters.  Kya is the underdog you believe in and want her to somehow win in the end.  Is it possible to change a lifetime of discrimination?  In the end Delia brings in another final twist and closes the novel with a surprising ending.    

If you love long descriptive writing about nature, romance, coming-of-age, drama, mystery and murder, this is a must read for you. 

 

About the Author: Delia Owens grew up in Georgia and has studied wildlife her entire life.  She graduated from the University of Georgia and University of California in Davis.  In 1974, she and her husband Mark moved to Central Kalahari, Africa where they worked on an extensive study of female mammals’ tendency to stay in groups with their off-springs as the males wondered.   Delia Owens is the coauthor of three internationally bestselling nonfiction books about her life as a wildlife scientist in Africa. 

“Where the Crawdads Sing” is her first novel. She lives in Idaho where she studies wildlife and is interested in writing additional fictional novels.    

 

 

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