Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens, can be characterized as a coming of age novel, a mystery and yes, even a romance novel. It has it all, and as for me I can totally understand why it was #1 on the NY times best seller list for so long. It really resonated with me and held my interest. Ms. Owens writing style is so descriptive and meaningful.
I read in a 2019 NY times book review that Delia Owens lived in a remote setting in Botswana and Zambia studying elephants and lions. Kya, the main character in Crawdads lives in the marshes of North Carolina in the 1950’s and 60’s. Her family abandons her and she grows up alone learning how to take care of herself. You can assume that the author brings some of her first-hand knowledge of survival to Kya’s character.
At times, I felt so sad for Kya. I personally hate being alone. Imagine growing up alone? The locals were so mean to her. She was different and no one seemed to care about her except her friend, Jumpin’and his wife Mabel. What about love they neighbor? What would you do if you knew there was a child who was alone in the world?
I love Kya. She is a survivalist. She is curious and smart and figures out how to live. I’m a city girl who grew up with indoor plants and pigeons. Because of Delia Owens’ writing style, I couldn’t help being interested in feathers, plants the creatures from the marsh. From the men in her life, Pa, Jodie, Tate and Chase, she learns good and evil. They all have a part in molding her into the woman she eventually becomes.
This is a must read and it offers a lot of discussion points if you use it for a book club. Here are some I suggest:
- Discuss the concept of being left alone
- Compare and contrast the men in her life
- Discuss the use of poetry in the novel
- How did the justice system treat her and was justice finally served?
Some of my friends felt the ending was weak. I agree somewhat but it still didn’t take away from the fact that this was a wonderful novel of endurance. #girlpower