Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing

by Delia Owens

Overview: 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.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, 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.

Judy Stanton (04/04/19): Since other reviewers have spelled out the story, I will just add that I always love a story that takes you to a place you have never been and describes it so well that you almost feel like you are there. Delia Owens makes you feel the breeze, smell the salt water, witness the flight of the birds and think about what it must be like to be alone in such an environment. In our fast-paced, hyper stimulating world, it is a unique experience to see how Kya learns to live in relative isolation. The book made me want to learn more about this author; she too is a naturalist who sees the world from a totally unique perspective. I did enjoy the story, with its twists and turns; unlikely friendships; love and loss; and its share of surprises. I would also highly recommend Where the Crawdads Sing.
Rating: *****

Deanna Boe (10/08/18): It is so wonderful to pick up a book that draws you in and doesn’t let you go until the very last page. The writing flows with the astonishing descriptions of life in the marsh on the North Carolina coast. The depictions of the marsh are only toped by the portrayal of the people found there. It describes life at its very basic of needs to survive. It shows heartache as a family disintegrates until there is only one member of the family left, a young girl of seven. How could this happen? How did she survive? This young girl soon came to be known as the “Marsh Girl” whose real name is Kya. The author not only gives us this amazing story of Kya but she also enlightens us with all that is found in the marsh, after all, the author, Delia Owens, is a wildlife scientist. What a unique combination, is it any wonder this novel will become a masterpiece of unforgettable writing?

Saying all of this, the storyline is heartbreaking at times. Here we have a young girl left alone in the marsh to survive. Kya has no money, no particular skills, can not read or write. What can she do? She proves that survival is a natural instinct. Along with this she has a friend in a black man and his family who step forward when no one else would. He sells gasoline for boats, buys fish and other things found in the marsh, and has a small store of various items people can buy. He buys the mussels that Kya digs up early every morning. It is his compassion that enables her to not only survive but thrive living alone. We also have a young boy, who had been friends with her older brother, whose sympathy opens up another need for her, the ability to learn to read and write. Little did he know that this simple act of kindness would lead to her becoming a leading expert of life in the marsh in the years to come. Unfortunately he disappears from her life just when she most needed his love and care. His leaving then brings about another young man entering her life, whose purpose is not so thoughtful, and opens the door to scandal and murder. The twist the storyline takes is captivating and leaves you wondering what was the truth? I won’t give it away; you will have to read this very special and unique book to find out. It has my highest recommendation.
Rating: *****

Debbie Weiss (10/06/18): I really loved this book. It is a touching story of a little girl who is abandoned by her family, one by one. They live in a small cabin in North Carolina, in the marsh. When her drunken father, the last family member she shares the cabin with, leaves her too, the sea gulls and other native animals become her only friends.

The story revolves around Kya's relationships as she grows into adulthood with 2 boys in the town of Barkley Cove, who reach out to her for friendship. Unfortunately, one of these boys is murdered and Kya is arrested and put on trial as the only suspect.

The writing is beautiful and poetic. The author is a naturalist by profession and teaches the reader lots of interesting details about many of the creatures that inhabit the marsh environment. The main character, Kya, is sweet and intelligent and it broke my heart to see how most of the world abandoned or ignored her. Somehow, she does thrive, but of course you can never escape your past. Definitely a book to put on your reading list.
Rating: *****

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