Book Review: Where The Crawdad’s Sing

It’s happening! Four reviews in four days to finally catch up on my October reviews. Starting with… Where The Crawdad’s Sing!


Author: Delia Owens
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pub Date: July 10, 2018
FLW Rating: 4.5/5

Where the Crawdad’s Sing is a beautiful atmospheric novel demonstrating the strength of a young girl- the novel’s proagonist, Kya. Before reading it all I knew was that ‘people liked it’ as a general statement. Ultimately I enjoyed this novel and all of its complexities, but something about the writing held me more at bay than I’ve felt in similar novels.

Where the Crawdads Sing is the story of Kya, a young girl at the outset of the novel living in the marshlands in coastal North Carolina. As the story continues, Kya grows older, and is left by her family to fend for herself and make her way in life. When a man from the town is found dead, Kya becomes a suspect and her whole life is analyzed through the lens of those living in town, invoking an strong emotional response from everyone involved in the case.

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What I think most defines this book is its subtlety. In a recent post I compared Kya to Wavy of All The Ugly and Wonderful Things and Leni of The Great Alonebut the biggest difference to me is that the other two novels were a bit in your face with emotions and tragedies, whereas Kya’s strength always felt understated.  I enjoyed this aspect and think this was the strength of the book. I felt like “clues” were slowly being conveyed throughout the course of the book, so I kept having quiet “aha” moments. Nothing dramatic, but I was frequently feeling the emotion of “oh that makes sense in the context” and I kept being amazed at how beautifully these details were being conveyed. Everything about the story felt authentic and real.

To that end, I find that there’s something so powerful in a story about the fate of the helpless laying in the hands of someone who may not understand. While this can be a relatively common theme in modern day literature, I felt like this book was particularly well done.

I won’t spoil the ending for you, except to say that it stays true to both the tone and the theme of subtlety to the past page. There’s nothing worse than an unexpected change of tone, and I thought this book did an amazing job of maintaining the tone while still going out with a bang.

Overall, I highly highly recommend this book. I recommend it to anyone, whether you’re looking for a tear-jerker, a feminist novel, beautiful descriptive scenic writing, or a murder mystery. This truly has it all in perfect balance.

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Nevertheless She Persisted: Stories of Strong Young Women

This week I read/listened to Where The Crawdad’s Sing — the hottest book of the moment (it was already a hot book of the moment and then Reese choose it as her September Book Club selection). I absolutely loved this story, and while it’s very unique, it is also reminiscent of two of my other most favorite books –  All The Ugly and Wonderful Things and The Great Alone. Even saying them out loud makes me want to hug the books close to my heart!

So since last week, I shared some books that reflect on the more negative sides of society, today I wanted to share some characters that left me full of hope!

For any who may not be familiar with these books, I’ll give you a quick synopsis.

All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood is the story of Wavy, the daughter of a drug dealer, who is growing up essentially without parents, or at least without any parents of influence over her life and well being. She develops a relationship with an older man, Kellen, who is both mixed up in the drug business and a shining light in Wavy’s life. It’s a story of Wavy acting well above her years, and fighting for herself even though society and logic try to keep her away from Kellen.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah is the story of Leni, a spunky young girl with a dad who’s a Vietnam war POW, struggling to fit in in regular society– with a dangerous and violent side to his personality. Given the opportunity to move to a small town in Alaska, Leni’s family seizes the opportunity, but so much of the burden is left on Leni’s shoulders to prepare the family for winter when the family can’t do it themselves.

Where the Crawdad Sings by Delia Owen is the story of Kya, a young girl left to fend for herself after both of her parents have abandoned her for another life. Uneducated and left to starve, Kya fights for herself using her wit and unwillingness to fail. This book has the added element of a murder of someone in the town where Kya grew up — a boy who was in Kya’s class for the one day that she went to school — but this story is primarily the story of Kya’s strength in getting through her misfortune.

Wavy. Leni. Kya.

What you’re getting in these book isn’t just a young strong female — each of these books shows you a side of life you wouldn’t otherwise see, paired with beautiful writing, wonderfully crafted to describe the scenery so perfectly, a few guardian angels (in various forms — because though these girls are strong, we all get by with a little help from our friends), and of course the strength of the young female protagonist.

So I just wanted to share that – This week in particular, reading about the strength of young women with zero privilege whatsoever, is pulling on my heartstrings and bringing me back to all the strong young female protagonists I’ve loved before.