Every once in a while I encounter a book that I am so enamored with that I can't wait to share it on one of my end-of-year Recommended Read posts on Be Colorful Coastal. Where The Crawdads Sing is one of those books.
The story begins as the seven-year-old protagonist, Kya, watches as her mother is walking down the dusty road leading away from their home, carrying a suitcase. This abandonment is repeated over and over as every one of Kya's family members eventually leaves her to survive alone in the marshes of North Carolina. Yes, this is a suspense-filled murder mystery and it is also a coming of age story, but it is definitely so much more. It is the saga of a strong girl, turned a woman, who endures being deserted by her family, extreme ostracization, the prejudice of the townspeople, and the challenges that are created by her lack of education. It is a heroic tale of the human struggle with loneliness, trust, and rejection. The book is also layered with themes of nature vs man, male vs. female, and privilege vs adversity. The book, set in the 1960s and 1970s of the southern US, addresses many issues such as bigotry, racism, predatory behaviors, and the hypocrisy of religious leaders. Issues that are still relevant today.
I found myself cheering for every small success in the long line of Kya's challenges and for the goodness and kindness of others who would, at times, rise up to help her. At its heart, Where The Crawdads Sing is a superbly written story in a hauntingly beautiful setting of a strong woman, her survival, growth, and the victory of the human spirit. It is the debut novel of writer Delia Owens, and the easy flow of her words describing a tortured subject matter are brilliant.
These are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:
"Barkley Cove served its religion hard-boiled and deep-fried." Delia Owens
"Autumn leaves don't fall, they fly. They take their time and wander on this their only chance to soar." Delia Owens
"TUTORED BY MILLIONS OF MINUTES ALONE, Kya thought she knew lonely." Delia Owens
"I wasn't aware that words could hold so much. I didn't know a sentence could be so full."
Delia Owens via
I discovered this book while randomly searching for my next read. When I ran across Reese Witherspoon's book club, Hello Sunshine, I noticed that this was the September book choice. If her other selections are anywhere near as monumental and moving as this one, I will be reading every suggestion she offers up.
via Hello Sunshine
BTW, this month's selection from Hello Sunshine is One Day In December by Josie Silver
Since I began writing this post I've learned that Delia Owen's book will be adapted for a film directed by Reese Witherspoon! Woo woo! Insert happy dance emoji.
Opa and happy reading,