Singing Praises for Where the Crawdads Sing

Quickly soaring towards the top of the #1 New York Times Bestseller List (and staying there for 125 weeks), it would be an understatement to say that Where the Crawdads Sing is worthy opraise. Through her poignant first novelDelia Owens explores themes of social status, independence, and first loves in this unique coming-of-age tale.  


Where the Crawdads Singset in the small, Southern marsh town of Barkley Cove, follows two timelines. The first timeline is set in 1969 and is considered the “present day” timeline, following the investigation and murder trial of Barkley Cove’s golden boy Chase Andrews. The second timeline begins in 1952 and follows the childhood of our story’s protagonist, Catherine Danielle Clark (more commonly known as Kya, or the “Marsh Girl”). Eventually, the timeline following Kya’s childhood coincides with the timeline of Chase Andrews’ murder. 


At the beginning of the story, Kya is left to fend for herself at age seven after being abandoned by her mother and siblings. Left with her alcoholic father, Kya lives in a small shack deep in the marshland outside of Barkley Cove. In order to survive and make her own money, Kya begins to sell fish she catches from the marsh to Jumpin’, the owner of a marina gas station. Jumpin’ quickly becomes a sort of father figure to her and is one of her closest friends over the years.  


As the years pass and Kya matures, she meets her first love, Tate Walker. Tate and Kya grow close as Tate teaches her tread and encourages her to pursue her passion for documenting the nature around the marsh. A few years later, Kya meets and falls in love with Chase Andrews. Rumors about their involvement before Chase’s death and Kya’s low social standing lead people to blame her for his death, and she is eventually charged with his murder.  


Overall, this book is absolutely incredibleI simply could not put it down, and as soon as it was over, I wished I had savored it longer. Owens masterfully weaves so many different themes and ideas into this book without convoluting the story, making it a great read. Where the Crawdads Sing is easily one of the most unique coming-of-age stories I have ever read, and the underlying theme about appreciating the natural world around us left me contemplating the state of our world and the events of the novel.  


The only thing that was less enjoyable about this book was its beginning. Where the Crawdads Sing has a bit of a slow start due to super descriptive passages dedicated to describing the marsh. While establishing a setting is most definitely important, at times these descriptions dragged on and ended up being distracting and nonessential towards the story’s development.  


I think that people looking for a fresh coming-of-age novel without recycled story lines will enjoy this book, especially if you don’t mind descriptions of sceneryIn addition to being a coming-of-age tale, this story also has elements of romance mystery, thereby appealing to a variety of readers. Where the Crawdads Sing earns a solid rating of 4.5/5 stars from me, and I hope to see another brilliant novel from Delia Owens soon.