Friday, April 28, 2023

Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens


Goodreads Overview:

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet fishing village. Kya Clark is barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when the popular Chase Andrews is found dead, locals immediately suspect her.

But Kya is not what they say. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life's lessons from the land, learning the real ways of the world from the dishonest signals of fireflies. But while she has the skills to live in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world—until the unthinkable happens.

In Where the Crawdads Sing, Owens juxtaposes an exquisite ode to the natural world against a profound coming of age story and haunting mystery. Thought-provoking, wise, and deeply moving, Owens’s debut novel reminds us that we are forever shaped by the child within us, while also subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

The story asks how isolation influences the behavior of a young woman, who like all of us, has the genetic propensity to belong to a group. The clues to the mystery are brushed into the lush habitat and natural histories of its wild creatures.

Jacque's Review:

This is another book that I decided to read because of all of the hype from Reese's book club. This one did not disappoint. I gave it a solid 5 stars and even watched the movie shortly after I finished reading the book. I felt like Hollywood did a decent job of bringing this book to life without deviating too far from the original story line, but the book is definitely better. Don't take the easy way out and just watch the movie in this case.

Kya lived with her Mom, Dad, and four siblings in the marsh area of Barkley Cove, North Carolina. Her father is a drunk and was often abusive. They do not have any money and live in a shack, so one by one her family leaves to make a better life for themselves somewhere else. Kya is eventually left to fend for herself and lives off the land with some help form Jumpin' and Mabel. They are an African American couple that runs the store where she buys gas for her boat and what food and supplies she can afford. 

She bonds with Tate, a local boy who teaches her how to read. They both love the marsh and its creatures, but he eventually has to leave for college. She is once again left all alone in a town where she is laughed at and ridiculed. Instead of offering a young girl who is obviously in need of help a lifeline, the town turned their backs on her. Surprisingly she becomes friends with Chase Andrews, who was the star quarterback and comes from a relatively wealthy family. When he is found dead, the town immediately believes the marsh girl has to be guilty. 

A large portion of the book centers around the murder investigation and trial. It was a captivating story that had a very surprising conclusion. Discrimination and segregation were prevalent at this time in the south and it could be seen in all aspects of this book. Kya's ability to overcome what most would have considered to be insurmountable odds was remarkable. I couldn't help but root for her to come out on top, even if I wasn't sure if she was guilty or not. 

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