Dear Where the Crawdads Sing,
Interesting and imaginative, but I found myself zoning out during some of your descriptive imagery. I enjoyed the premise but something got lost in translation.
P.S. Book Details
Author: Delia Owens
Book Length: 384 pages
Book Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: August 14, 2018
Awards: Edgar Award Nominee for Best First Novel by an American Author (2019), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Historical Fiction (2018)
Synopsis: 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.
In Where the Crawdads Sing, Owens juxtaposes an exquisite ode to the natural world against a profound coming of age story and haunting mystery. Thought-provoking, wise, and deeply moving, Owens’s debut novel reminds us that we are forever shaped by the child within us, while also subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.
The story asks how isolation influences the behavior of a young woman, who like all of us, has the genetic propensity to belong to a group. The clues to the mystery are brushed into the lush habitat and natural histories of its wild creatures
Where the Crawdads Sing is the average historical fiction book. It has a female lead who seems to be a little bit of an outcast. Then, there’s the love interest or two. A mystery disappearance. And finally the happily ever after. I found this book to be predictable and a bit boring at times.
Since Where the Crawdads Sing was such a popular hit when it came out, it took me a while to get to it. I didn’t really want to buy it and the library had an obsurd wait list, so I let it fall to the back of my TBR list. Then, my book club chose it for the January book pick and I finally got my hands on an audio copy.
I can see why this debut novel was an instant hit. It reads like all the popular historical fiction books being published. Contrary to some people, I enjoyed the vivid imagery Kya goes on about. It was beautiful to see the world from the point of view from someone who has such a personally relationship with the land.
I have two disappointments: the characters and the plot. The characters did not feel personal. They felt two-dimensional and unrealistic. It was as if they could not feel more than one emotion at a time. They were not complex, but almost robotic in their responses to situations. My complaint with the plot is similar. It was predictable and fell short of breaking the mold. A couple years ago I went through a big historical fiction binge and after you read a few, they start to sound similar. It is clear there is a story that is working.
I am glad I listened to this book, because if I had been reading it I’m not sure I would have been able to push through and finish it. If you are set on reading this book, I would recommend listening to it to make the experience better. This would not be my first recommendation for a good historical read. It reminded me a little it of The Great Alone, but without the deep intrigue and character development. If you are looking for some historical fiction outside WWII (as I have heard some are), this is one option. There are a lot of people who really enjoyed this book. However, I would direct you to The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah first.