Friday 22 July 2022

Book Review | Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens | prettylittlewriter

‘For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet fishing village. Kya Clark is barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when the popular Chase Andrews is found dead, locals immediately suspect her.

But Kya is not what they say. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life's lessons from the land, learning the real ways of the world from the dishonest signals of fireflies. But while she has the skills to live in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world—until the unthinkable happens.’

I’ve had this book on my tbr pile for over a year now, and in anticipation for the movie coming out this month, I thought I’d better get on and read it!

It took me a while to get into it at the start, 5 chapters in and it felt a little lacking, however, I think that was just because I hadn’t given it enough concentration as the further I got, the more I was enjoying it!

Kya is a sweet, na├»ve and brave character, to have lived through what she did; from abuse, abandonment and discrimination, she’s a survivor through and through. I have nothing but awe and admiration for her.
We see Kya from a very young age be abandoned by her entire family, and left alone with her alcoholic and abusive father. It isn’t until further into the novel that you hear just how terrible he was, and why her Mother left her children behind to escape it.
Eventually, her Father also leaves, never to be heard from again.

Kya is a very sensitive and closed-off person, so when she meets Tate, an old friend of her brother’s whilst out on her boat, she is unsure of him, and it takes a lot of encouragement from Tate for her to interact with him. He starts leaving her little trinkets that he knows she will love (feathers from rare birds to add to her collection), and they start a unique and sweet friendship, with Tate teaching Kya to read.
Throughout the novel, you can see just how intelligent Kya is, although she has had no schooling, and couldn’t read to begin with, she has taught herself a lot about the Marsh, and she is a very talented artist.

I did find the story quite unbelievable in the way that Kya supposedly supported herself and managed to survive from the age of 6 by coming up with ways to make money for herself to then buy food, fuel for her boat and lamps. For a six year old, it just doesn’t seem possible.

My favourite characters were definitely Tate, Jumpin’ and Mabel. Jumpin’ was just an absolute light in Kya’s life, so kind, so nurturing to a girl that was an outsiders, and he treated her like he would have his own daughter. Jumpin’ himself is a black man, so he suffers similar prejudices from the white folk in the town, so they have that extra bond of both being treated differently.
Tate was a brilliant friend to Kya, and there’s a little blip where he leaves her without a goodbye, but he comes back and finally makes it up to her, which I was extremely happy about.

Delia has written in a beautifully lyrical way; elegant prose of the marshland and its creatures creates a wonderful and inspiring picture of Kya’s life, and there is no surprise that Kya kept herself so ingrained to the marshland and almost became one with its wildlife.
One thing I didn’t expect which I really loved was that Kya, with encouragement from Tate, managed to get a book deal and ended up being quite well established with a brilliant amount of money coming in, yet she still remained the same humble and protective girl.

I didn’t guess the ending, I definitely thought it was someone else that had killed Chase Andrews rather than who it actually was, so was pleased that it surprised me!

Overall I really enjoyed this book, and it definitely surprised me with some of the things that happened in it, however it was a slow start and some things were just a little bit too unbelievable.
I’m now excited to watch the movie and just hope it does the story justice!

4/5 stars

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