Where the Crawdads Sing- Book Review
Author: Delia Owens
Genre: Historical fiction, mystery, crime, southern
My rating: ★★★★★
Release Date: Published 14th August 14th, by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Format: Paperback, 384 pages
What did I think?
I’m ever careful about seeing reviews prior to reading a novel. I might scan them, looking at ratings (particularly from friends) but if I see something that could be a spoiler I look away. While reading Where the Crawdads Sing I saw a review that said “…can we talk about the ending?” Agh, I thought. What does that mean? Am I going to be unhappy with it? But I pushed those thoughts aside and now I’m here to tell you that the ending seemed very much in keeping with the story and I accepted it fully. I will give you no clues. But, hey, there are always going to be people who wished a book ended differently.
There are some beautiful characters in this book. Kya, the main protagonist—and Marsh Girl, is a compelling character. She’s got heart, pride, she likes people, even if she sometimes turns away from them, and though she falters, in the end, (SPOILER read on Goodreads). Her relationship to nature is awesome. Kya may have had more than her fair share of difficult and tragedy but what an amazing person. What a story Owens gave to her in this book! So many times I was rooting for her and sharing in her achievements (e.g. SPOILER read on Goodreads).
As a second main protagonist, Owens presented to us nature herself and I loved it. Glorious, strange, even nasty, Owens wove the environment from the animals to the water, the grasses and other plants, throughout this novel and it was part of the joy. The book even got me out planting the garden after pushing aside that job week after week for about two months! I’m not that outdoorsy.
There are secondary characters who are also wonderful. Jumpin’ and Mabel, an older couple who help Kya after her family leave the marsh one by one, leaving her, a child, to fend for herself. They are both perceptive, kindhearted and thoughtful, taking into account Kya’s needs but likewise her wants, though she is still a young person on whom they could have imposed what they thought best (and keep in mind it was the mid 1900s).
Tate and Kay’s brother, Jodie, have their moments (they are human after all) but come (or come back) to have meaning in Kya’s life. Tate, (SPOILER read on Goodreads).
There were antagonists, yes. But I’ll leave you to find out about them for yourself.
Where the Crawdads Sing felt epic at times, spanning about twenty years of Kya’s life, and was full of beauty and wonder but also tragedy and pain…seems I’m a sucker for books like that. I highly recommend it.
P.S. A few quotes from the book:
“Kya didn’t stop or they would bolt, a lesson she’d learned from watching wild turkeys: if you act like a predator, they act like prey. Just ignore them, keep going slowly.”
“A simple hope of being with someone, of actually being wanted, of being touched, had drawn in her. But these hurried groping hands were only a taking, not a sharing or giving.”
“She laughed for his sake, something she’d never done. Giving away another piece of herself just to have someone else.”
“She feels the pulse of life, he thought, because there are no layers between her and her planet.”
“She touched the pages and remembered each shell and the story of finding it, where it lay on the beach, the season, the sunrise. A family album.”
“Kya remembered, those many years ago, Ma warning her older sisters about young men who overrevved their rusted-out pickups or drove jalopies around with radios blaring. “Unworthy boys make a lot of noise,” Ma had said”
For more info: Goodreads – Or your local Library