Where the Crawdads Sing

By: Delia Owens

Abandoned by her parents and siblings as a child, Kya was forced to learn independence, heartache, and mistrust at an early age. To Kya, the marshland near her shack along with the local wildlife are her true family, but her lack of interpersonal connection with humans has made her a source of gossip in the local town. Ostracized and ignored, she is known only by her nickname, Marsh Girl.

But when two young men come into her life, Kya learns the meaning of love and loss in one of the most painful ways possible, becoming a suspect in a murder trial.

I had no idea what I was going to get with this book. In truth, you could argue that no one ever really knows what they are getting unless they have had a book spoiled for them or they have already read it. But this book posed as a unique kind of surprise because I bought it at the recommendation of my friend, Trish, who told me that she loved Where the Crawdads Sing. I knew that the book had something to do with an isolated girl and a murder. That was enough for me.

I expected this novel to be more about the murder mystery and less about Kya, but it turned out to be the opposite. The murder took a backseat to the narrative and tension in Kya’s life. That being said, the murder was still an important part of the plot because the reader must try to piece things together from a timeline told in small pieces. I am glad at least that the murder was important. I don’t think I would have liked this novel nearly as much had there not been some greater question I wanted to be answered. I probably wouldn’t have picked this novel up in the first place without the aspect of a who-done-it. Then again, maybe I would because Delia Owens laid her story out in such a way that by the end I thought she was a true genius.

Speaking of Owens, I was very impressed with how she intertwined her Zoology background with the narrative of the book. Where the Crawdads Sing was her debut into the world of fiction previously having experience writing nonfiction for her work. She absolutely nailed this novel. Between the vivid imagery and the tenderness with which you as a reader will view Kya, I have no doubt that this book will elicit strong reactions from you the way it did me. You may experience moments of rage, fear, and happiness that you won’t find in other novels. For that reason, I recommend this book to you.

This is a heartfelt story about a young girl who must learn to survive on her own in circumstances most of us would not have been able to face. Honestly, I think I would have died had I been in her shoes. Kya is such a brave, strong, and self-reliant character. Her relationship with isolation is unhealthy, but I believe she has a lot to show about knowing oneself and being skeptical about the promises of others.

She was determined and smart, innocent and wild. Her life was so vivid that I can see her in my mind’s eye now. From the way she looked, her mannerisms, and the vivid world she lived in, I honestly don’t think that I could ever forget Kya.

Overall rating: 4.5


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