Our first book club read was “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens! I had heard great things about the story from my friend Emma, and nearly half of the book suggestions I got were raving about it. Funny enough, I had just downloaded it through my library app the night before all of this. Talk about meant to be!!
“Where the Crawdads Sing” tells the story of Marsh Girl Kya, or Catherine Clark. Kya has lived basically on her own since the age of seven, coping with loneliness and isolation by studying her surroundings. She becomes fascinated with nature; all the creatures in the marsh, the waves, the shells, and especially bird feathers. A murder charge in 1969 turns Kya’s world upside down and away from her beloved home.
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If you haven’t read the book, stop reading now! Spoilers ahead!
I didn’t really know much about the premise of this story before reading. I screenshotted the map that’s on one of the first pages to quickly reference on my e-reader app. I usually like when stories world build with details like maps, and I think it was helpful in understanding the foundations of Kya and her home.
A detail that I found out after reading is that Delia Owens is a biologist, which explains for the in-depth explanations of Kya’s natural world and her eventual studies. I like when writers play off of their own experiences and inject them into their characters. It just rings true.
The writing in the majority of the book was just beautiful. Lots of beautiful descriptions, unique adjectives and a great flow. This did slow down for the courtroom scenes, though I think that was also a stylistic choice to show Kya was uncomfortable and in a strange place compared to her home in nature. I still would have liked to see a bit more of that prose-style added into the middle to end of the book, as that’s where my friends who have read it and were “meh” about it decided it wasn’t living up to the hype. I powered through, and I am happy I did!
I really enjoyed how the bird feathers were the Tate and Kya relationship introduction. It showed her human relationship as an offset of her relationship with Mother Nature, who truly was her mother for the vast majority of the book.
Okay… Now to the ending. This is another divisive part of the book for me and my friends. I personally think it makes complete sense because of who Kya is and how she’s studied nature. She knows how to cover her tracks and behave like a praying mantis. She’s protecting herself. The counter argument is that Kya’s lawyer argued how ridiculous it was that she take the bus back, dress up as a man, etc. solely to have it all be true?? I can understand the sentiment. Not going to lie, I was a bit like, “Oh, okay,” as I read it, not super excited, just accepting. It fits the bill, so to speak.
- The ending. Even if you don’t like it, it makes logical sense
- The whole Tate and Kya dynamic
- Jumpin and Mabel. I loved the scene where they tried to protect Kya’s feelings and said the clothes and items were from a family who didn’t need them sitting around. Great surrogate parents
- The town eventually accepting her and realizing they were mean to her
- The courtroom scenes
- Kya taking so long to go back to Tate
- The timeline at times was confusing to me in the beginning
Overall, I’d say this was 4/5 stars! I really enjoyed the story and even if it wasn’t what I wanted, the ending was fitting.
If you read “Where the Crawdads Sing,” what did you think??