Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing has been at the top of all the bestseller lists for months. This novel by Delia Owens tells a story of an abandoned, abused and increasingly isolated girl-to-woman, Kya. It takes place in the remote and eerie Outer Banks off the North Carolina coast. Going back and forth in time, we are invited into the mystery of a life and a death and, most importantly, about the continuing sadness of human prejudice and judgment.

It’s also the story of how a gifted girl with no schooling and no opportunity can learn, and then use the art and intelligence she has to make a better world for herself. I was reminded throughout, in odd ways, of the Tara Westover’s memoir Educated as much of this story of fiction matches her real life experience.

Although I thought Delia Owens writing about the natural world was wonderful, I did not like this book as I thought the plot was rather contrived. There are a lot of jumps in Kya’s life and growth that just don’t make sense. One of the poems she reads from the anthology her mother left behind couldn’t have been in that volume as the poem was published later. But then it was difficult to track the back and forth time in the novel. Regarding the mystery, if you’ve paid close attention the ending is not a surprise, but again it is a rather difficult to go back and put the pieces together.

This is an easy and quick read, a good one for summer. I can see why it is so popular, as it is a compelling story. But I don’t think it is a great novel.

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