Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons on August 14th, 2018
Genres: Literary Fiction, Mystery
“I wasn’t aware that words could hold so much. I didn’t know a sentence could be so full.”
Let me tell you — I started as #532 on the waitlist for this book. I almost caved and bought this from Indigo, but I decided to wait it out. The things I do for Reese’s Book Club choices!
Nobody knows anything about the “Marsh Girl.” People gossip and there are rumours about her that have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast, for years.
So in 1969 when Chase Andrews is found dead, everybody immediately suspects Kya Clark, the Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they assume. She’s sensitive and intelligent, and she’s survived for years alone in the marsh. She finds friends and comfort in the gulls and wild. But the time comes when she starts to yearn for human contact. So when two young men from town become fascinated with her, Kya opens herself up to a new life… until the unthinkable happens.
I went into this book completely in the dark about what it was about. And I’m glad that I did. I think I would’ve held unrealistic expectations otherwise, even though I knew this was everybody’s favourite book of 2018.
Right off the bat, the writing is impeccable. It completely draws you in. I’ve never seen nature described like that before. Surprisingly, the descriptions of the animals, inspects, and other wildlife weren’t my favourite.
It was the way Owens described the Marsh and the suffocating feeling you can get from living in a small town despite Kya’s access to miles of untouched land. You felt the hot summer air make it hard to breathe for the citizens, but you could also understand the feeling of being free while you sat by the shore. I felt Kya’s pain of being lonely and feeling abandoned by everyone she loved.Ugh, I could really just go on and on about how much I loved Owens descriptions!
As for the plot, I felt like it was a slow burn that I didn’t mind. The jumping between time periods didn’t bother me either. I honestly could’ve done without the murder plot. I understand why Owens wrote it in, but I think I would’ve been perfectly happy about Kya’s life minus that.
I wanted more chapters about how she learned to read and how she wrote her books about wildlife. Ultimately, I think it’s a heartbreaking coming-of-age story that didn’t necessarily need the sensational murder plot.
But apart from that, I loved the commentary on how we’re forever shaped by the children we once were, by our upbringing, by our family, and by tiny moments of kindness or violence.
I will say this — that tiny twist at the end really hurt me. I know I should’ve seen it coming, but it really affected me. And it was the perfect way to wrap up Kya’s story.
Now the only reason why I gave it 4 bubble teas instead of 5 is because I kind of expected more from Kya’s story.
I liked that she used her reading lessons with Tate and combined them with her passion for the outdoors. But why was her life so shaped by Chase and Tate? The men in her life? I wish she had more connections with women in town instead of being only fixated on finding human contact through a boyfriend figure.
This book won’t be for everyone. I suspect a lot of people will find this too slow for them and they might also be turned off by the writing. But if you’re a fan of drama with a bit of mystery, I’d check this out.