Where The Crawdads Sing
By Delia Owens
Set in the late 1950s and late 1960s, Where The Crawdads Sing is the story of Kya, aka the Marsh Girl. She was born into a family that lived in a shack in a North Carolina Swamp. It’s a hard and unhappy life, with a drunk, abusive father. By the age of 9, her mother and siblings have all left – and eventually, her father leaves too. Alone, Kya learns to cook, keep house, and make a bit of money so that she can purchase the items she’s unable to pluck from the sea or the swampland.
Flipping back and forth between the 1950s and 1960s, the reader watches Kya learn to stand on her own two feet and grow from as an innocent girl becomes a gorgeous young woman. Although most townspeople still look down on Kya for being uneducated and poor, her beauty intrigues a few local young men – namely Tate and Chase. As Kya forges friendships with those men, she comes out of her shell, slowly learning to trust people. Thanks to Tate, Kya even learns to read and write, basic skills that would help her become recognized as not just an an expert in swamp ecosystems but also a brilliant artist.
But in 1969, when Chase is found murdered, Kya becomes the primary suspect. Her secluded world turns upside-down and is suddenly under a microscope for all to observe.
Review: Part fiction, part mystery, Where The Crawdads Sing is a strong, powerful novel for two reasons. First, the character development was outstanding. With two story lines set 10 years apart, the reader is really able to watch Kya become her own woman. I felt strongly attached to her, wanting so badly for her to be happy and have everything that she dreams of. She is an underdog – uneducated and prejudiced against. But as the story unfolds, it becomes increasingly apparent just how intelligent she is, how driven and passionate she is – she just needs a little support to help her grow.
Without a strong plot, character development can only go so far. And this book had a strong plot. The 1959 story line really set the stage for the 1969 story line. Without seeing that character development and the nuances, the struggles of what made Kya become the woman she was, it would be difficult to appreciate what she went through later in life.
And the ending? I loved it. So often will a fiction novel end with me wanting something more, perhaps a sequel. Not only was the ending unexpected, I wasn’t left longing for another book in the series. The ends were tied up nicely, and I was left with a feeling of resolution and peace.
Where The Crawdads Sing was an excellent book to start off my 2019 reading. Read it, I think readers of all types will enjoy it.