Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing is a crime fiction tale set in the 1950s and 60s. The novel follows two stories concurrently, until such a time where they weave together. One is the story of Kya; a young girl who was abandoned by her family, but survives and thrives in the marsh. The second is the telling of a crime, for which the ‘Marsh Girl’ is accused.

Kya is a complex and flawed character like every human is, which makes her relatable even if her circumstances couldn’t be further from your own. Her curiosity and independent nature makes her a character you’ll want to root for.

I wanted her to be loved, feel comforted, and be accepted into her community. I admired her determination and motivation, but also criticised her naivety.

An experienced nature writer and co-author of three nonfiction bestsellers featuring her life as a wildlife scientist in Africa, Delia Owens has composed a tale so elegantly moving that one would never guess that Where the Crawdads Sing was her first novel. This first-time novelist has managed to captivate the reader by composing a uniquely fresh tale of mystery and romance, with a sneaky twist.

Delia Owens effortlessly educates the reader about the fauna and flora of North Carolina marsh-country through this coming of age tale, beautifully told. With richly detailed landscapes and well-faceted characters, one can easily imagine the settings and the characters.

In addition to successfully defining the natural scenery and wildlife, the author intentionally mentions the food and clothing of the times. These also act as skilful indicators determining the affluence of the characters, and the growth of the main character.

Final thoughts on Where the Crawdads Sing

Poetically written and strewn with pieces of poetry, this book will expose you to a wealth of emotion. Filled with childlike innocence and loss, friendship and love… one moment you shed a tear, the next you giggle. 

Ultimately the story reached a point where I thought: “How the hell is this author going to piece this all together?” But she did it – perfectly.

Worth a read! Score 8/10

Words and images by Peaches

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