Book reviews by D.G. Kaye
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Sunday Book Review – Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens

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’.

 

 

 

 

Blurb:

#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.

 

©DGKaye2020

 

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D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.

60 Comments

    • dgkaye

      Thanks Pete. Not typically a book I would have picked up on my own, but all that buzz at the pool piqued my curiosity. And now I understand why. 🙂

  • Jan Sikes

    This was one of the best books I’d read in a very long time. It gripped me from the beginning to end. I totally concur with your review. Another book I read just following this one that was also a compelling story was “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek,” if you’re looking for another one that is equal to this one. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Debby!

    • dgkaye

      Oh great Jan! Pretty unanimous on this book if you check reviews. Of course – there are the odd stupid troll comment reviews, but a fantasticly written book for sure. Thanks for the recommend on the other book, definitely going to check it out. <3

  • Marian Beaman

    This book was front and center at my favorite bookstore for a long time. Then I read and reviewed it. If it were possible, I’d give this book a “6.” Even my husband caught it as an audio book. ******

    • dgkaye

      Wasn’t it just! I’m so glad it literally fell into my lap. I put it up there with my most beautiful read picks – All the Light We Cannot See and Alice Hoffman’s The World That We Knew. I know you’ve read All the Light .. have you read Hoffman’s? 🙂

      • marian beaman

        It’s a good thing you post “In case you missed them,” otherwise I’d MISS your reply to me here – ha! Yes, I have read and reviewed All the Light We Cannot See, but I haven’t Alice Hoffman’s The World That We Knew. I think I’ve read another of her books, long ago, but even searching my archives, I can’t find the title. She’s written dozens!

        Fabulous review, Debby!

        • dgkaye

          Thanks so much Marian. And glad you caught my reply, although I don’t know why WP doesn’t show in notifications. I know you’ve read my review on All the Light, but I will check out yours too. 🙂 I also read and reviewed Incantation by Hoffman and I loved that book too. 🙂

  • Christy B

    I keep hearing how good this book is! The last person I talked to wanted to finish it quickly to find out how it ends but also didn’t want it to end ~ I’ve missed finding a book like that where there’s that struggle haha! Great review, Debby.

  • lisa thomson

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful review, Deb. I’ve heard of this book and recall ‘everyone’ was reading it, so it must be good! 😛 I will have to get a copy. A good read during quarantine.

  • Stevie Turner

    Sounds like something I will have to check out, Debby. Thanks for this. At first I thought it was autobiographical as you tend to read non-fiction, but I realise now this is a work of fiction.

  • Hilary Melton-Butcher

    Hi Debby – she lived in London for a while and had a newspaper column – I think … I came across her a few years ago … and obviously is highly respected as a writer. The book sounds really interesting and I’ve seen it reviewed recently here too – Saturday Times I think. Sounds a great read … so glad you picked it up while down south and at the pool, book swapping … take care – Hilary

  • Debbie Harris

    I have to admit this was one of the best books I read last year and I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t live up to all the hype, but it sure did. A great review of a fabulous book Debby.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks so much for adding to the conversation Deb, it’s an author’s dream to have such beautiful feedback and Owens deserves the praise. 🙂

  • Amy M Reade

    Hi, Debby,

    This book is actually on my nightstand. My MIL lent it to my husband and me after she read it. I didn’t really know anything about the book, though, so this review has really spurred me to finish the book I’m reading now to get started on Crawdads…thank you!

    • dgkaye

      Oh, what serendipity Amy! I’m glad my review has inspired you to finish reading. You may feel a bit of a slow start as I did, but the writing is gorgeous and Kya will wiggle her way into your heart. <3

  • Diana Peach

    I’ve heard so many good things about this book, Debby. And your review just confirms it. I haven’t picked it up yet, but plan too. Thanks for giving me the push! Stay well, my friend. <3

  • Luna Saint Claire

    I too enjoyed this book a lot. The lush prose engulfs the reader in Kya’s world of the marsh, the sea and with the birds. It’s some of the loveliest nature writing that recalls Peter Matthiessen which says a lot. Did you know, Delia Owens, a professional nature writer, engages us in the beauty and the science. Kya is a protagonist we can route for even if at times we are asked to suspend belief. This is a story of strength and perseverance. Love and forgiveness, as well as survival and cruelty. I too recommend it – a perfect summer read.

  • Liesbet

    I think you have to stop writing these reviews. Debby. My TBR list is getting way too long!! 🙂 Nice that you stumbled across this beauty by coincidence at the pool. I’d love to read it one day, since nature, freedom, love, and independence are what I live for, and by!

    • dgkaye

      LOL Liesbet, you cracked me up, telling me to stop writing reviews. Hey then I’m going to take that as a huge compliment. I’m happy to know my reviews intrigue you. As I know not every book is for everyone. But one thing I know, YOU will love this book LOL 🙂 xx

  • Olga Núñez Miret

    I’ve read many great reviews of this book, Debby, and yours only confirm it. It’s on my shopping list for books and I’m sure it will soon find a way into my Kindle. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Lauren Scott

    Debby, you wrote a beautiful and perfect review of this book. I read it last year after it was recommended by a friend and absolutely loved it! I couldn’t put it down. Owens’ writing is like poetry in novel form. You covered all the emotions her story evokes. I don’t know if she has any other books out, but when I checked last year, I don’t think she did. So, I’ll be on the lookout for more from her as she is a fantastic artist in the craft of writing. Thanks for writing and sharing to give your readers the opportunity to dive into the story of Kya. Hope you are safe and well, Lauren 💗

    • dgkaye

      Hi Lauren! Nice to see you back around blogworld! Thanks for commenting on this beautiful book and my review. Yes, you put it succinctly, Owens wrote this book like beautiful and lyrical poetry but in a novel. Such beauty! And just so you know, this is not her first book, but I think her first bestseller! 🙂 <3

  • Christoph Fischer

    Finished the audio book last week – great recommendation and great story.
    I’ll post my review soon. Xox

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