Updated: Nov 13, 2018
A beautifully written portrait of a young girl living in the North Carolina marsh who faces more adversity than most of us could imagine.
A young girl, Kya Clark watched from the porch as her mother walked down the sandy path in her alligator pumps, carrying her blue train case. Kya knew her mom wouldn’t be back when she didn’t wave to Kya from the end of the lane. Soon Kya was all alone, but she found consolation in the North Carolina marsh. She fed the gulls and they became her friends, she dug mussels and they became her food and she painted pictures of the marsh, and that became her love. She was judged, ridiculed and scorned by the most of the townspeople, so she stayed away. But in late in 1969, when the handsome quarterback, Chase Andrews is found dead in a nearby cove, the locals immediately suspect Kya, who they have always called the “Marsh Girl.” But Kia is not anything like they think. She is sensitive, talented and intelligent and has survive for years alone in the marsh.
“Sometimes she heard night-sounds she didn’t know or jumped from the lightning too close, but whenever she stumbled, it was the land who caught her. Until at last, at some unclaimed moment, the heart-pain seeped away like water into sand. Still there, but deep. Kia laid her hand upon the breathing, wet earth, and the marsh became her mother.”
Kya is like a beautiful deer grazing on the marsh grass only to bolt into the palmetto brush at the first sound of danger. WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING is a first rate journey into the marsh on the North Carolina coast with vivid and magnificent descriptions. But it’s so much more. It’s an expertly delivered portrait of a young girl who faces loss, adversity, desperation and loneliness. But overcomes her hardships with perseverance, resilience, hopefulness and love. The writing is lyrical and profound and this coming of age story of survival is stellar. You can’t help but fall in love with Kya, and the few people who have chosen to help her: Tate, Jumpin, and Mabel.
My favorite part of the book was when Tate was teaching Kya to read, and she sounds out her first full sentence: “There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot.” Tate responds “You can read Kya, there will never be a time again when you cannot read.” Kyra says “It ain’t just that. I wan’nt aware that words could hold so much. I didn’t know a sentence could be so full.” A beautiful sentence, and the entire book is like that. Some sentences will just take your breath away.
Author DELIA OWENS grabs her readers and takes us on a marvelous journey into the marsh, and enlightens us all with its beauty. Owens is the co-author of three internationally best-selling nonfiction books about her life as a wildlife scientist in Africa. Where the Crawdads Sing is her first novel.
“She knew the years of isolation had altered her behavior until she was different from others, but it wasn’t her fault she’d been alone. Most of what she knew, she learned from the wild. Nature had nurtured, tutored and protected her when no one else would.”
Publisher G. P. Putnam’s Sons
Published August 14, 2018
Narrated Cassandra Campbell