Dear Fellow Reader,
Each week, I get an email from my local bookstore with the list of their best sellers for the week. Often after I see a book on that list, I start seeing it all over the place. That is what happened with this week’s book. It was like it was following me around. I placed a request at the library and it came before I could take a breath. I think I was supposed to read it.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is a very interesting and absorbing book. Delia Owens is a wildlife scientist and writer. This book is her first work of fiction. I didn’t realize that the book is a mystery. Even after I read it, I would not have said it was a mystery. It is not a classic “who done it”.
The book has two stories intertwined. The first and most lengthy is the story of Kya Clark. Kya lives out in the marsh outside of town and is the youngest of five children. As the book opens, Kya is watching her mother walk away from the house. She waits for her mother to return but she never does. Kya’s father is a card playing drunk who is abusive. Over the next couple of years, all the children leave the house except Kya. Kya has attended one day of school but she has been taught to read by Tate Walker, a boy from town. She is a talented illustrator and makes drawings of all the nature and wildlife that live around her.
The people in the town refer to her as “the Marsh Girl” and when a local man is found dead, the first person blamed is Kya. But Kya is not the person most in the town thinks she is. Interspersed with Kya’s story is the story from the sheriff’s investigation into Chase Andrew’s death. Chase was the high school football hero and from an influential family in town. Why would Kya have anything to do with him and why would she have killed him? Is it easier to blame her than to look at Chase’s background?
The book had beautiful descriptions of the wildlife and the landscape of the marsh. But it does not get bogged down in the descriptions. The descriptions in the book set the scene more than they feel like a nature study.
I liked the book and would recommend it. I felt it was absorbing and an interesting story. For those who might not like mysteries, I think you could read this book and not feel like you are reading a mystery. It is much more an interesting story about a young woman raising herself and the people who help her.
As a side note, I read this book, The Great Alone, and Educated all within about two weeks. All three books had a theme of an abusive father. (Where the Crawdads Sing is the only one where the father is more of a minor character.) I would rank this book as my favorite of the three followed by The Great Alone. In contrast to what seems to be the rest of the world, I did not like Educated. It might be an instance of too many books with the same theme. I will say, that Educated has stuck in my mind but I am not a fan.
Thanks for reading!