*FYI, this review contains spoilers!!*
Title: Where The Crawdads Sing
Author: Delia Owens
Rating: 5/5 Stars
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.
FYI, this is NOT a spoiler-free review!!!
What a beautiful, emotionally-mature story.
Much like Kya, I grew up in a remote area ruled by nature, where creeks and hills had the power to alter your daily life. Because of this, I was able to relate to Kya more than I anticipated going in. Any kid who grew up in a remote area, who was a little different from the folks in town, will feel a bit of their heart in this story.
While the prose is gorgeously arranged and the mystery intriguing enough, for me, the heart of this book is in the immense feeling of loneliness that is part of the human condition. Because Kya is left behind by family and ostracized by the town, she struggles to trust people and their intentions. While it’s a sad sentiment, Owens found beautiful, clever ways to depict Kya’s feelings. She compares love and relationships to the courting patterns of the animals she reads about, trying to make sense of what she experiences with her fellow humans. Any woman who has been used and discarded by a man will easily resonate with her line of thinking. In this way, Owen explores what it means to be human. Are we meant to be tied to someone over the years? What ways are right to love and which aren’t? Is there a way to come out of love unscathed? These questions and their contemplation are what I enjoyed most about this book.
Now for my one critique: the ending. While I’m a big fan of female characters with some spice to them, the big revelation of Kya actually murdering Chase didn’t seem in-line with her character. Yes, he wasn’t ever going to leave Kya alone and there was some serious animal imagery hinting at it, but Kya never seemed the type to plan out murder and carry it out. I legit thought it was going to be an accident or Jumpin who killed him. I think he definitely deserved to die, but Kya doing it makes the reader think we never actually knew her.
Have you read Where The Crawdads Sing? What did you think?