Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – Review


I am always loosing my mom at the grocery store. When this happens, I always go for a stroll to the book section of any bookstore in hopes that she’ll think I’m there and also because I want to see what’s in stock. For some reason, grocery store books are always on some 30% deal whichever store I go to but that same book is selling full price at Chapters. This is still something I’ve got to figure out but for now I will enjoy my discounted hardcover of Where the Crawdads Sing because I paid way less than the dust jacket says it should retail for originally. Lost as I was that day at Costco, I decided to do the rounds of the book section and that is where I found this copy of Where the Crawdads Sing, which was stacked on top of another book (Sometimes when it’s been a while since I’ve seen mom I help my grocers out by putting the disorderly stacks back in order. Let’s say it’s satisfying ok?) but I realized this was the last copy of this book and that was why it had no particular stack. Two conclusions can be derived when you are presented with the last copy of a book at a bookstore or book section of any kind: This book is not that popular so the retailer only ordered few copies and this is one of the last of ’em; or this book is so popular that this is the last copy because so many people wanted this super great Costco discount on a good book. I figured it was the latter because I don’t figure Costco will order like 15 copies of one book since the stacks for the other books are always high, also my english teacher had told me about this book before so I mean it seemed popular. Anyway, this long paragraph just to say I bought this book and it was really good! (damn this paragraph confirms I’m a rambler.)

Some Details

Author: Delia Owens

Title: Where the Crawdads Sing 

Published: August 14, 2018

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Pages: 384

Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance, Bildungsroman, Mystery, Crime


For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps. -Goodreads

First Sentence

“Marsh is not swamp.”

My Thoughts

I love novels that follow the life of a character like this one. Now that I’ve read the book, I can understand why there’s no more copies at Costco and why theres already a movie on the way. This was the perfect read to start off my summer.

The setting of this novel is in the late 50s and 60s. Reading books in this period always please me because the lack of outer communication and media makes for a more connected and intertwined community of characters. I’d prefer reading one of these types of books over a modern high school teen drama any day. Although Kya is connected with her family and Jumpin’ she isn’t really a part of the actual community due to scrutiny, but the way that all of the community is quick to go against the Marsh Girl goes to show the amount of connectivity this community has even before the use of social media, texting, and phones (for some of the poor people in the marsh phones where something they did not have access to just yet) and for a 2003 baby who got her first iPod Shuffle in second grade, I have never known what a small connected community looks like without websites and Facebook groups. Historical fiction is always an exhilarating experience for me because I  take it as an opportunity to live in another time, which would otherwise be considered impossible.

“Most of what she knew, she’d learned from the wild. Nature had nurtured, tutored, and protected her when no one else would.”
― Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing

I loved Kya’s character since the beginning. Calm, collected, and thoughtful of others at a young age, I was excited to see what would be in store for her. As the second sibling of four, the scene where Kya gets abandoned by all of her siblings after their mom left was really sad to me. Should I of had an abusive parent like Kya did I would hope that before all my older siblings left there ways someone would consider taking me. I’m thankful for this scene though because Owens shows how resilient and independent Kya has already set herself to be even at her young age.

Indeed Kya grows into a very independent person as her father doesn’t come back home one day and Kya starts working for Jumpin’. I liked how even though Kya was only a kid living alone in her cabin, she was making it work for herself but also let other’s like Tate; who teaches her to read, and Mabel; who gives her clothes and seeds to grow herself a garden.

“She laughed for his sake, something she’d never done. Giving away another piece of herself just to have someone else.”
― Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing

The second narrative with the police officers investigating the murder was not really interesting to me, I know that the present was important to include in the novel but for me it wasn’t equal to reading about how Kya grew up. I kinda wish that the novel stayed in chronological order but that maybe that would not be very fluid. I’m no story writer so I’m not sure how these things gotta work!

Something that was really interesting for me was the connection Kya has made with nature through her solitude. She always had the birds to keep her uplifted. The imagery was really captivating too. Owens must know a thing or two about animals because the ways she explained and described Kya’s feather collection was superb. When Kya was away from the birds you could really experience the loss and sadness this has on her character, these birds are the only family she has.

“Kya laid her hand upon the breathing, wet earth, and the marsh became her mother.”
― Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing

The ending of this novel was super sweet. A reminder that we can’t have an opinion on someone we haven’t taken the time to get to know. I find it sweet that even though Kya has been abandoned and has faced prejudices her whole life, she was still able to build a successful life and a career for herself. Even when other’s walked out of her life or took advantage of her she took care of herself and kept going. I think this is a message we can carry with us through our lives. I might of shed a tear!

The Wrap Up

Where the Crawdads Sing is an excellent read. It explores many important themes like Survival, Violence, Coming of Age, Adulthood, Prejudice against minorities, and the ultimate choice between independence and real human connection and wether or not they can merge. This book reminded me a lot of The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant, which was another Bildungsroman genre book that I thoroughly enjoyed.

“There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot.”
― Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing