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Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing

Updated on September 15, 2019
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Reading is a series of human emotions. Writing is the gift of sharing these emotions.


The story revolves around Kya Clark, who lives in the undisturbed town of Barkley Cove on the coast of North Carolina. The entire town refers to her as the “Marsh Girl.” Since the age of six she encounters a series of struggles as she gradually loses every member of her family. Completely abandoned by her loved ones, Kya courageously confronts life’s unfortunate events at such a young age; poverty and complete isolation in the wetland are her daily challenges. Her interaction with people is very limited as she quietly survives everyday fending for food and other necessities. As years go by, she comes across two different attractive men. Her aloofness, innocence, and power of survival first captures Tate’s heart who plays a big role in her coming-of-age. When Tate goes to a University quite far from the marsh and drops off the radar for years, Chase Andrews enters her life and lures her to believe that he intends to marry her. Tate returns with determination to get Kya’s forgiveness and tries to convince her that Chase is not who she thinks he is. When Kya finds out for herself that Chase is bound to marry another girl, she loses complete trust in men and decides never to trust anyone. Despite this, Tate continues to find ways to connect with her in hope that she will gain his trust again. Like Tate, Chase continues to pursue Kya, expecting to still be with her regardless of his marriage but one day, the quiet town receives a shocking news. Chase Andrews is dead and based from circumstantial evidences, Kya is the main suspect.


Where the Crawdads Sing has been topping The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2019 for several weeks now, so I was bouncing off the walls when I got a copy of the book and I finished reading it in 2 days! It’s a debut novel written by American author and zoologist Delia Owens who also wrote the memoirs, Cry of the Kalahari.

Delia Owens told the story so impeccably! She incorporated her vast knowledge on law, biology, literature and crime investigation. Its flavor of suspense came from how the story was told; jumping from past to present occurrences where the period switches every chapter, and each phase escalates the reader’s emotions, curiosity and great anticipation for the lead character’s fate. Kya Clark’s character embodies a survivor of illiteracy, poverty and ridicule. She’s in control of her own fate, despite the circumstances. Her interest in biology brings a new level of sophistication to her character and the fact that she shares this hobby with her first love, Tate makes such sweet and memorable connection.

I was very much in awe of the style of writing shown in this novel because it was as if the author has lived in the eyes of each character. Mostly, I enjoyed the court trials; they were entertaining and carefully written with both intellectual and rational lines. The book in its entirety has so many unforgettable quotes but I took note of my favorite line, “It’s like never having seen the stars, then suddenly seeing them.” I perceive it as seeing the joy of life amidst the constant struggles for which a lot of people will be able to relate. Overall, this novel is a page turner and not even Nostradamus can predict how it ends. Kya’s coming of age will animate the story, her survival will bring hope and the ending will lock anyone’s jaw. If you love Barbara Kingsolver, this book is definitely for you.


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