I’m a bit late to the reading party for Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. I’ve been wanting to read it for a while, only I was afraid it wouldn’t live up to all the hype. But as soon as I started this book I knew I was in for a treat. I devoured it over a couple of days and loved every minute of it. The writing was superb, I was 100% invested in the story, and it made me feel so many emotions. All in all it was a 5 star read for me. It’s one of those rare books that reads like a classic and you know it will endure with time. I loved it!
Where the Crawdads Sing is set in a small town called Barkley Cove on the North Carolina Coast. It begins with the discovery of a body in the marsh in 1969 belonging to handsome and popular Chase Andrews. The locals immediately suspect that a person they call “Marsh Girl” is behind his death. Marsh Girl is Kya Clark, a young woman who grew up in the marsh in a primitive hut under terrible conditions. When she’s a child, first her mum leaves, then her siblings, and she is left with her drunk, frequently absent father.
Kya grows up without going to school, without a mother, and often with only her wits to survive. Her home is the wild, beautiful marshlands filled with birds, insects and nature. It’s a lonely existence and it’s only as Kya grows and starts to connect more with the outside world that trouble comes to her door.
I’ll leave it there because I really don’t want to give away too much. The story is told in two timelines: in 1969 when Chase’s body is discovered and in chapters about Kya’s life as she grows up in the marshes. Kya’s story is heart-wrenching in places. I felt so much for her. They way she is treated by people in town is just despicable.
Delia Owens writes beautifully and poetically. I loved all her descriptions of the marsh and the flora and fauna which inhabit it. Her writing is truly mesmerising. I’ve read some reviews about people finding this book hard going or boring, but I was hooked right from the start and it never lost my interest. The investigation into the death of Chase Andrews plays out in the 1969 scenes — it’s always fun to have a mystery to solve. The ending caught me a little bit by surprise but I think it was the perfect way to end the novel.
Verdict: A brilliant, must-read story. I can’t wait to see what Delia Owens writes next. I loved this book!