Where the Crawdads Sing

There’s little I can add to the praise for this book. If you have not read it, you should. Delia Owens and her husband were researchers living in Africa where they studied elephants and other major mammals. Together, they have written three best-sellers about the nature of their world. They have retired to Idaho.

Unlike the first three books, this book is fiction. None-the-less, it is filled with the nature of a fictional marsh on the coast of North Carolina. In 1952, Kya Clark was six years old when her mother left her abusive husband for good. Over the next months, her older siblings also left.  For a time, her father stopped drinking, but he too soon left.

Having been taught how to move through the marsh and possessing a natural intelligence and love of nature, Kya found she could survive alone. A boy four years older, Tate, came into her life and taught her how to read. Because they shared a love of the marsh, he mostly gave her science books to read. On her own, she became a skilled naturalist.

As the teen years found her, she realized she craved being with other people. She had intimate relationships with two boys, Tate, and Chase Andrews, who, we are told in the prologue, is discovered dead on October 30, 1969. In chapter 3, we read the first details of the death, eventually ruled a murder.

With that foreknowledge, we read two-thirds of the book, watching Kya mature, but also seeing the progressive trend of the investigation to assume Kya is the murderer, The rest of the book is her trial and its aftermath.

You might not enjoy the best parts of the book if you do not share a love of nature. That is probably most true if you find marsh and swamplands disgusting. But, from the pen of Delia Owens, you might change your mind.

I’ll give her a 4.6.

Mike Lawrence

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