I have wanted to read this for ages! This book has received a lot of hype, particularly on my insta feed – besides the fact the cover is very pretty!
Where the Crawdads Sing follows the story of Kya, known as ‘Marsh girl’, for growing up alone (in the marsh) after the departure of her mother, siblings and eventually, her abusive father.
The story is a tale of romance, crime and bildungsroman (a new word for me too, referring to the telling of youth to adulthood), switches between America in the 1950s, 60s and early 70s, where the reader realises young Chase Andrews has been found dead in the marsh near a watch tower, with the possibility he may have been pushed. This seems irrelevant at first, until we learn more about the characters Owens puts forward and involves in Kya’s life.
We are introduced to Kya living with her abusive, neglectful father who leaves for long intervals until what seems forever, where she must fend for herself, having attended school for only one day and promising herself to never return. This is where we meet the helpful, loveable Tate: her first love. He teaches her to read, tells her stories about the world and helps her learn intimate things about herself, including feelings she never thought she had.
I fell in love with these two, as Tate never takes advantage of Kya’s innocence, whereas this changes when he leaves her for college and she is pursued by Chase Andrews, a local fella I immediately disliked. It turns out my thoughts were true, where it becomes clear he only wants her for sex. Unsurprisingly, Kya thinks she is in love with him, but cruelly finds out he is engaged to someone else.
Is this a motive for her to kill Chase?
Quickly, more people come back into her life and things pick up: if you choose to read this warming novel, you will meet Jodie (her brother) and Jumpin’ who are major role models in her life who look out for her.
However, what becomes of Kya and Tate upon his return?
And what of Chase Andrews’ killing?
I was left both satisfied and dissatisfied by the ending, as some questions were left unanswered, whilst Owens rushed through some parts at the very end.
Nevertheless, I am so pleased to see that there is a film adaptation in the works! It will be produced by Reese Witherspoon’s production company, Hello Sunshine, with Daisy Edgar-Jones confirmed to be starring! (from my favourite book and tv series Normal People).
rating – 4.5/5 (not quite a full 5, as some of the phonetic language made it difficult to understand at points)
genre – crime, romance, literary fiction, bildungsroman (youth to adulthood)