This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read it even if you haven’t read the book; but remember that we can’t promise anything about the comments.
For the third summer in a row, I went to Kelleys Island, Ohio for a week with my mom and my younger brother. Kelleys Island is a great little island village located in Lake Erie where on a clear day you can see Canada (and sometimes my phone says, “Hey! Looks like you’re internationally roaming!”). One of the things I love about it is that we stay in a little rental house with no internet or cable television and our main agenda is good food, enjoying the Lake, and reading.
As we were preparing for the trip my mom asked what books I was taking with me, and started waxing poetic about Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. It was all I could do to keep from rolling my eyes, because I’m that person – the one who skeptically avoids best sellers. “What’s to say it’s not just mob mentality?” But I trust my mom’s opinions, so I threw it in my bag as I was loading the car.
Let’s just get one thing out of the way: this book is worthy of the hype.
Crawdads tells the story of Kya Clark, a young woman raised in the marshes of a small North Carolina town and referred to as Marsh Girl by the local residents. Kya is let down by everyone she should be able to rely on, ultimately abandoned by her parents and siblings and left to basically raise herself from the age of 10. From the very first pages of the novel it’s also set up as a murder mystery – a who-done-it that starts and finishes in the marsh.
While the murder and investigation definitely drive large portions of the story, at its core Crawdads is about the tenacity of the human spirit, human kind’s thirst for knowledge and, more importantly, about the power of relationships and ‘found families.’ You might think this book would be super dark and possibly depressing, but I was so moved by the relationships that it gave me more of a hopeful feeling than I’d expected.
As I read, I kept changing my mind on what the end would be – “Okay, now I think so-and-so did it!” – and I really enjoyed that my mom had already read it so I could run my theories past her without spoiling the story (and wow does she get bonus points for not giving anything away!). I think this book would be a fantastic book club read, or a read-along style experience among friends. I gave it a five star rating on Goodreads because it’s a total page turner – I devoured all but the last 80 pages in one day of reading – and because the characters are all so well developed and compelling.
I’m going to stop here to avoid the risk of giving anything away. If you want to talk more about what I loved or share your own thoughts feel free to drop a line to our email! Who did you suspect? What did you feel at the end? Who was your favorite side character?
Where the Crawdads Sing was an ideal summer read. Five stars. Glad I gave it a chance.
Image of grass by Gaelle Marcel on Stocksnap