My Sunday Book Review is for Delia Owens’ NYT Best Seller-Where the Crawdads Sing. A most beautiful book I didn’t want to end. I’m not sure I would have picked up this book on my own, but while on vacation, many of us book-swapped at the pool, and this book was getting a lot of attention. So when my friend offered it to me when she finished it, I grabbed it quick.
In this coming of age story about a girl, Kya, abandoned by her family while a mere young child, living in the marsh off the Northern Carolina coast, left to learn about the cruelty of the world she’d been sheltered from, yet, comforted by nature. A story about abuse, neglect, survival, nature, love, friendship, loneliness, social prejudice, maybe murder, and finally redemption. The New York Times said it best ‘painfully beautiful’.
#1 New York Times Bestseller
More than 4 million copies sold
A Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick
“I can’t even express how much I love this book! I didn’t want this story to end!”–Reese Witherspoon
“Painfully beautiful.”–The New York Times Book Review
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.
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.
My 5 Star Review:
A beautiful. and at times, heartbreaking story of survival and awakening from a sheltered life among the marsh lands to a realization of a cruel world. Kya grows up alone in the camouflaged world of nature and as she ventures out into the ‘outside’ world, learns tough lessons about the lack of societal acceptance and injustice.
Left alone to fend for herself, a beautiful and clever, self-reliant child grows up in the peaceful wild. We grow to love this child as we turn to every next page. Kya teaches us through her discoveries about how nature can tell us so much, and a deep look into how one can survive in isolation with nature providing most food and shelter.
Kya is the youngest of the poor Clarkson family, and one-by-one her family all disappeared until she was left to fend for herself to survive at the ripe old age of 6 years old. The story is written beautifully with Owens grabbing our hearts as we become engrossed into this little girl’s life, praying she will be safe as we turn the pages. Kya is smart and learns life through nature and begins her journey of lone survival paddling out the old family raft to the town pier. The only person she’d ever known other than her immediate family – Jumpin’, the kind old black man, sold gas and supplies at the pier, and he developed quite a soft spot in his heart for this child.
Kya knew she could survive fishing and such but still needed staples and her quick mind prompted her to start digging oysters so she could trade them at Jumpin’s for gas and staples. Jumpin’ and his wife Mabel took a shining to this unusual and independent child and they showed her the only kind of love she ever knew since her mamma had left home. Anyone else in the town shunned the poor child.
As she matures into a young woman, she finds friendship with very few, save for Jumpin’ and nature. Later she will meet Tate who teaches her love – until a complication arises, leaving Kya feeling hurt and falling into another relationship with the wrong boy – Chase.
In this book there is a wealth of life lessons shared through Kya’s life. We start off with abandoned children, abusive father, societal racism not only for the color of skin but social standing. We learn about survival, our heartstrings are pulled along as Kya experiences life – fears, confusion, abandonment, love, loneliness, growth, becoming a woman with no warnings, and later on becoming an accused victim targeted because of her lifestyle.
This is the first book I’ve read by Owens and certainly will not be the last. If you’re looking for an engrossing read that will grab your attention and heartstrings as well as teach a lot about nature and humanity, read this book.