File Name: Where the Crawdads Sing
Author : Delia Owens (Goodreads Author)
ISBN : 9780735219090
Format : Hardcover 384 pages
Genre : Fiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Mystery, American, Southern, Young Adult, Coming Of Age,
Rating: it was amazing
4.5 stars rounded up .
A story of survival, of what the depth of loneliness feels like when a young girl is abandoned first by her mother, then her four siblings. Even at five Kya understands why they left - because of her father, because of his meanness, his abuse, his drinking. What she doesn’t understand is why they left her behind and neither could I. She remains pretty much alone since her father comes and goes until he doesn’t come back. It was gutting as she sits on the beach with the gulls not wanting them to fly away and leave her too. Heartbreaking how she is neglected and abandoned, remembering the beatings, trying to figure out a way to eat.
Atmospheric is an understatement, and I don’t use that word often because it seems overused sometimes but this place, the marsh permeates just about everything that is meaningful in this story beginning with Kya’s realization “And the marsh became her mother.” The marsh becomes her life, her livelihood, the essence of who she becomes through her self learned expertise of the insects and the birds, her art. But is it enough to heal her? The kind hearts of Jumpin’ and Mabel who help a little girl alone and in need, the only human contact she has until her brother’s friend Tate comes into her life, but is that enough to help her heal ? I love the writing, fabulous descriptions of the marsh. The marsh and its inhabitants, the insects, the fish, the birds which pique Kya’s curiosity, give her so much joy and company, and allow her to become the expert she does become on the marsh and marsh life. But is that enough to make Kya whole after so much hurt and loneliness?
There’s a murder mystery, not my usual fare, but I was totally engaged, trying to come up with who the murderer was, totally engaged in the courtroom scenes. I gave it 4.5 stars because there were a couple of things that felt not quite realistic. But when I woke up thinking about this story, I knew I would round it up to 5 stars . I don’t often cry over books, but this one definitely brought me to tears at a number of places. Overall it was such a fabulous read, heartbreaking in so many ways, with wonderful writing and characters, a stunning portrait of a place, of the trauma of loss and loneliness. My heart was always broken for Kya, a character to remember. An unforgettable ending.
This was a monthly read with Esil and Diane and as always I appreciate their thoughts as we read together. In this case, we have very similar feelings about this beautiful story.
I received an advanced copy of this book from G.P. Putnam’s Sons through Edelweiss.
Rating: it was amazing
MEMORABLE CHARACTERS AND MEMORABLE STORY. For me to rate a book five stars it has to give me something bout of the ordinary, make me feel. Most of all it has to be a book or contain a character or characters that I won't forget. Above all it has to make me feel. This book did all three. Kya, aka Catherine Clark, the Marsh girl is an unforgettable character, abandoned by her mother at she six, her siblings shortly after. By ten she was alone in the Marsh raising herself, her main source of comfort the natural life found in the North Carolina Marsh, the gulls she fed daily. She learned not to trust nor depend on anyone but herself. She was smart, curious, feArless and so lonely. As if this character wasn't enough to remember, there are also some supporting characters that play an integral part in her life. Jumpin and Mabel, a black couple that try to help Kya in whatever way she will accept. Tate, who has known her since she was small, teaches her to read anc much more.
What will one do in the face of such loneliness? How much will they sacrifice if they reach out, trust? Prejudice is a big theme, because as the Marsh girl she is considered illiterate, unclean, and none in the village reach out to help. There is of course a villian, who claims to love her, but marries another, breaking her heart . This is there another thread comes in, a story told in alternate chapters, as when he is murdered , she is accused. Also where another wonderful character comes in, a man, 74 years old, a retired lawyer who comes out of retirement to defend her against a town that already assumes she is guilty.
I could nitpick a few things, but I won't. I loved and learned much about the natural world, a different way of looking at things. On walks I take along the river I will look at things I ordinarily wouldn't. A survival story, what Kya has to do it not easy, but since she has little choice it is what she does. Making the most of what one has, regardless of how little. More than one I had tears running down my face, so this gets five, big marshmallow stars from this reader.
This was mine, Angela and Esils August read, and as always our reads and discussions are something in which I look forward.
ARC from Edelweiss.
Rating: it was amazing
5 trilling stars to Where the Crawdads Sing! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟
I am super excited to share this review with you because the book is on my favorites list for this year. The writing is lovely, and the storytelling is brilliant.
Barclay Cove is a quiet place along the North Carolina coast. I tried to imagine this setting and time period, as someone familiar with the area, and I could not quite fit where it was in reality; however, using the author’s extraordinary gift for description without being overly flowery, in my imagination, I can perfectly picture the mysterious marsh.
The book begins with the story of Kya, a young girl whose mother walks out on the family, leaving the children to fend for themselves with an alcoholic father who is absent most of the time. Not to mention the fact that they live in the inhospitable marsh as squatters (there are, indeed, small settlements on the North Carolina coast today that were founded my “squatters”).
Kya’s siblings are older, and they flee, leaving her alone with her father. She learns to care for herself at a young age because she has to. Kya is uneducated by choice and circumstance, though the town attempted to get her to attend at first. Even without schooling, she is sharp and caring, as she learns the ways of life through the marsh and all it has to teach her.
For years, Kya lives this way and is known as the “Marsh Girl” by the townies. When a young man of the same age is found dead, everyone in town assumes it must have been Kya, and fingers are pointed. She has been involved with two young men who were entranced with her, but was Kya involved in the death of Chase Andrews?
Where the Crawdads Sing is a glorious and equally somber coming of age story for Kya. Though she was called to a different life from the one she has always known, how much will her upbringing continue to control who she is? The writing is exquisite, the setting atmospheric on a grand scale, and Kya is a strong and unforgettable character I wanted to hug. Overall, I simply adored this book. I was immersed completely in Kya’s vibrant world, and my heart ached at every turn. The ending is memorable, and the messages are strong. Beautiful nature and a captivating story.
Thank you to G.P. Putnam’s Sons for the ARC. All opinions are my own.
My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
Rating: it was amazing
Oh how beautifully mesmerizing this book is. I’ve moved this book to the #1 spot in my list of favorite books of 2018. Thanks to my Goodreads friends Angela and Diane for bringing this book to my attention :)
This 5* book is masterfully written, with outstanding character development. That alone would be a great book but there is much more. There is a love story and mystery woven through the story, and add art and poetry to that and you have this incredible book.
Well as to the plot I will give you a little information on that, although you’ve all probably read the book blurb.
At the beginning of the story we are introduced to Kya, a 6 year old little girl who has already been traumatized for life. Her mother leaves her father and the five children and never returns. Then slowly throughout some years her older siblings leave and then finally her brother whom she was very close to and her drunken father. They leave her completely alone in their falling down shack, no provisions and barely any clothing. She was only 14, she was completely alone and had no idea how to survive, but somehow she does. She has an incredible will and she loves the marsh, it’s the only home she’s known.
She learns to fish, cook and clean just by remembering how it used to be. Barkley Cove, where she goes for groceries and gas has a store that is run by an extremely kind and generous couple who have lived on the marsh their entire life. She exchanges mussels and then smoked fish for gas for her motor and a few groceries. Mabel gives her used books, shoes, anything that she can get donated. They were her only friends.
Kya has two real love relationships in the book. Tate she has known all of her life but now that she is older she views him differently, she begins to feel real love. He teaches her how to read which opens up the world to her. He is in her life for quite a few years and she seems happy, her life is good. She loves the marsh and all that inhabit it. She collects many things and categorizes them. From the books Tate brings her she learns biology, math, how things grow and change and she is fascinated by the marsh. The author describes the marshland so well I felt myself transported there, felt the humid air, the squashing feel when I walked and encountering all of the creatures described in this book.
It’s incredible to think that this could happen but I really think there are those people who live in the marsh. Quoting from the book “this infamous marsh became a net, scooping up a mishmash of mutinous sailors, castaways, debtors, and fugitives dodging wars, taxes or laws that they didn’t take to. The ones malaria didn’t kill or the swamp didn’t swallow bred into a woodsmen tribe of several races and multiple cultures. .. . . . .two hundred years later, they were joined by runaway slaves, who escaped into the marsh and were called maroons, and freed slaves, penniless and beleaguered, who dispersed into the water-land because of scant options."
After being disappointed in her relationship with Tate she finally decides that perhaps she could be more trusting. She shares things with Chase, a boy from town who tells her he loves her, talks about a future. But everyone always leaves Kya.
Then one especially happy day for Kya, she had met with the publishers of her books, two at this time, but gets an awful message from Jumpin’ upon her return, Chase is dead. The sheriff is looking for Kya and there are rumors in town that perhaps Chase’s death was not an accident.
Oh my gosh this review is too long and there is so much more to say. I don’t want to spoil any portion of this gorgeous read. There is beautiful poetry and paintings that I felt I could see. Read this book, you will be wonderfully surprised, entranced and feel great about a book again. Read Kya’s story, she will stay with you a very long time.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley and Edelweiss.
Rating: it was amazing
This is an amazing first novel by this author!
In the marsh land, near the North Carolina coast, the youngest child of a big, poor family is first left by her mother, her brother and later her father...she is such a little girl and left to fend for herself.... so heartbreaking!
This story lets us follow her entire life, a life that is mostly very lonely.
Part coming of age story, part love story, part mystery...these characters will really pull you in!
I just loved it!!
Thank you to Netgalley and G.P. Putnam’s Sons for the digital copy!
Rating: it was amazing
Here we have it, my favorite book of 2018! I think this one will be hard to top. Amazing!!
A swamp and a marsh are very different environments. A marsh is a thriving and nurturing place, and it's there, along the North Carolina coast, that Kya lived and survived after being abandoned by her family as a young girl. Kya spent her days alone, observing the surrounding natural world, and it served her well.
Though she loved her marsh dearly, sometimes the loneliness was too much, especially as she grew into a young women. But after being abandoned by everyone she loved and shunned by the locals, who could she trust with her heart?
I don't want to ramble on too much about the plot. This stirring, character-driven novel is part coming of age story, part mystery, and part love story — between Kya and two young men who she allows in her hidden world, but most of all, between Kya and her treasured marsh.
WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING is a gorgeously written and haunting novel with an unforgettable heroine, the Marsh Girl. What a bittersweet ending!! Tears, tears, tears. Just lovely.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Penguin's First to Read Program in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: it was amazing
Thank you to Penguin Publishing Group who provided an advance reader copy via Edelweiss.
This is a very special book about a girl named Catherine Danielle Clark (known as Kya) who lived in a shack in the Marsh lands of North Carolina. The story begins in 1952 when at the tender age of six, Kya's mom walked out of her life, never turning her head back to wave goodbye. As the days passed, her older siblings gradually left as well, leaving Kya alone to deal with her volatile father. Pa would leave the shack for days on end, then suddenly reappear without warning. Eventually, even he left for good. This left fourteen year old Kya to fend for herself. However, this very clever and resourceful girl drew upon memories of watching Mom cook and clean, and navigating the motor boat with her Dad.
When Kya's Dad was still at home and she could spend a little money, a barefoot Kya roamed the aisles of the local Piggly Wiggly market to buy grits. However, once Dad abandoned her, Kya's survival instincts kicked in. Remembering a skill Mom taught her, Kya collected mussels when the tide was low. Filling two large bags, she boated to Jumpin's Gas and Bait to barter her first deal of mussels in exchange for money and gas (for the motor boat). Compassionate to the little girl's plight, Jumpin' and his wife Mabel donated care packages of clothing and other necessities as needed. Besides these friendships, Kya's only other friends were the treasured birds and animals of the Marsh. That is, until she met Tate. Tate was out boating at the same time as Kya when she lost direction. Tate kindly directed Kya home, and this was the first dawning of their relationship. Over time, they shared their love of nature (such as collecting various bird feathers) and he even taught Kya to read.
Kya was known as "The Marsh Girl", a mysterious and undesirable being to be avoided. She only spent one day in school after being treated as an outcast. Used to being abandoned and now comfortable in her self-imposed isolation, Kya set about painting in watercolors marsh lifeforms, such as mushrooms, seabirds and grasses. Now that she could read, she could both document and illustrate her love of nature.
This story also revolves around a possible murder, that of Chase Andrews. His body was discovered by two boys in 1969, and the mystery of his death and his involvement with Kya is a slowly unfolding drama in the book. Through alternating time periods, Kya's life and the truth of Chase Andrews' death weave an atmospheric, poignant and totally engaging story.
Many thanks to my Goodreads friend Dorie whose beautiful review directed me to this fine book.
Rating: really liked it
” Dark and silent, late last night,
I think I might have heard the highway call
And geese in flight and dogs that bite
The signs that might be omens say
I'm goin', I'm goin'
I'm gone to Carolina in my mind
“With a holy host of others standin' around me
Still I'm on the dark side of the moon
And it seems like it goes on like this forever
You must forgive me, if I'm up and gone to
Carolina in my mind”
-- Carolina In My Mind, James Taylor, Songwriters: James Taylor
”The morning burned so August-hot, the marsh’s moist breath hung the oaks and pines with fog.”
Kya was only six years old on the day that she heard the screen door slap shut while she was scrubbing the grits out of the pot, and wondered who was leaving their shack. It couldn’t be her mother, her mother would have quietly closed the door, not let it slam shut on its own.
She runs to the porch and sees her Ma in her long skirt and fake alligator high heels walking down the lane, carrying her train case. When she got to the end of the lane, she didn’t even turn to wave.
Kya was the youngest, with Jodie being the closest in age to her, and three older siblings, Murph, Missy and Mandy. And Pa. But it isn’t long before the three oldest disappeared, almost old enough to make their own way in the world, and tired of Pa’s rages, the marks left on their bodies and their hearts.
And then Jodie tells Kya that he has to leave, that he can’t live there, can’t take one more day of it. And Kya is left alone, more or less, with her Pa. A man who wanders off, not beholden to anyone to let them know when or if he will return, and when he does return he is almost always drunk.
Barkley Cove, the town they live closest to eventually becomes determined that Kya should attend school, and so she is made to go, is escorted to the school, where the other children taunt her, tease her, and she never returns.
Kya is branded, they called her the Marsh Girl, a label meant to mark her an outcast, but Kya is happier without them. She finds her family and friends in the gulls, and the shells she collects. She is sensitive to the lessons she learns from the waters and the land, the birds that come morning and night to be fed, trusting that she will always be there to feed them.
Where this book excels is in the descriptions of her surroundings, there are so many moments in this story where the picture she paints is so beautifully true to this part of North Carolina’s coast, and most likely even more true in the 1950s. For me, the story felt as if it became a little bit bogged down in the last half of the book, where a mystery is being solved / resolved.
A lovely reflection of the beauty that surrounds us in nature, in the still natural places in this world that man has not conquered or spoiled, and the nature within a young girl, a lyrical coming of age tale that feels as wild and promising as Kya’s world.
Pub Date: 14 AUG 2018
Many thanks for the ARC provided by PENGUIN GROUP Putnam, G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Rating: really liked it
The beauty of this book is in the descriptive writing which takes you on a journey through the Marshy Swamps of North Carolina. The character of Kyla Clarke abandoned and rejected by her family near stole my heart and this is a character that will stay with me for quite some time.
This is beautiful quiet novel, set in Berkeley Cove a small town on the North Carolina coast, elegant with that southern charm that draws you in, suspensful and unique plot and just a good back to basic mystery that is charming and a real page turner.
I listened to this novel on audio and what a treat to enjoy those Southern accents which really added to the enjoyment of this novel. I had reason to stop over for one night a few weeks ago in Charlotte North Carlolina and how I wish I had been able to spend a week here and explore this state and after reading this book I really want to book a flight and enjoy that southern charm.
I learned so much about the marsh and its wildlife in this novel and lovers of nature and the outdoors are going to really enjoy this one.
Another great and unique read and feel like I am on a winning streak with all the great books I have read this summer. Here's hoping Autumm reading can compete with what great entertainment summer has produced
Rating: really liked it
Pretty close to the beginning I felt an emotional attachment to the main character, Kya Clark aka Marsh Girl. It was hard not to given her mother left when she was a little girl, followed by her siblings and her father basically left her to fend for herself. I couldn't help but want to give the poor girl a hug.
The author does an amazing job of painting a picture of the North Carolina marsh area where Kya lives. The story switches back and forth between Kya growing up in the 1950s and the late 1960s when a man is found dead. The mystery of whether the man was murdered or not wasn't really the highlight of the book as I much preferred watching Kay grow as a character. I'd definitely recommend this book if you are looking for a novel with good character development and an emotional reading experience.
Thank you to First to Read for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy! I was under no obligation to post a review and all views expressed are my honest opinion.
Rating: it was amazing
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/
“I wadn’t aware that words could hold so much. I didn’t know a sentence could be so full.”
I cannot imagine a book that will end up beating Where the Crawdads Sing for my best read of 2018. Truly, this was a case where the entire thing was practically perfect in every way for me (the only minor quibble I had was with the snippets of poetry, but that’s because I hate poetry). Due to the fact that I am so absolutely strung out and hungover from this book, I’m going to do words even less well than I usually do.
The story here starts in 1969 with a dead body – and then it immediately timehops back to 1952. It’s there you meet Kya on the day her mother has decided to up and leave the family and the marsh behind. Kya’s siblings follow their mother’s footsteps in short order – as does her father eventually. It’s then that Kya becomes known as “the Marsh Girl” and the reader works their way back to finding out what exactly happened to that dead fella.
This was a true genre bender that had something for nearly everyone – coming of age, family strife, first love, first loss, and dare I forget – a potential murder. It was a modern day To Kill A Mockingbird and I feel so honored to have been approved for an advanced copy.
If you’re looking for an epic tale that spans over five decades, look no further than . . . .
“Way out yonder, where the crawdads sing.”
All the Stars there are to Star.
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest (*cough blubbering cough*) review. Thank you, NetGalley!
Rating: it was amazing
In the spring of 1952, a woman walks away from her home in the marshes of coastal North Carolina, never looking back, leaving her five children behind with their drunken father, who has just two settings: silent and loud. Soon the three oldest children slither away too, then thirteen-year-old Jodie, the youngest son, decides to go, leaving six-year-old Kya to fend for herself and her PA. She has to wonder what has she done to send everyone away? Needing people only ends in hurt.
Seventeen years later, the body of the popular and handsome Chase Andrews, former high school star quarterback, is found dead at the base of a fire tower. Foul play is suspected and the story of the murder investigation is interspersed with Kya's coming of age story.
Kya grows up wild in those marshes, hiding from strangers, avoiding the truant officer and by the age of ten, she is entirely on her own. The people in the small town of Barkley Cove shun her, calling her Marsh Girl. Her savior is the old black man Jumpin', who buys mussels from her so she can afford groceries, gas and supplies from his general store while his wife brings her hand-me-down clothes.
Kya grows into a beautiful young woman and soon attracts the attention of a couple of young men. One teaches her to read and brings her books, but the other just wants to use and abuse her--both betray her and break her heart. "From somewhere very deep, she made herself a promise never to trust or love anyone again."
Kya is an unforgettable character, broken yet strong, beautiful and wild but multi-faceted and talented. I guarantee her story will break your heart. As always with books set in North Carolina, the land itself plays a major role in this story. Kya loves every inch of it and every critter in it. The story is beautifully written, sprinkled with touching poems throughout.
So what does that title mean: where the crawdads sing? "Just means far in the bush where the critters are wild, still behaving like critters."
Highly recommend this book! I've added it to my list of other favorites set in North Carolina, including Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel; Redemption Road by John Hart; and If the Creek Don't Rise by Leah Weiss. I am so pleased that author Delia Owens frequently refers to Aldo Leopold's classic A Sand County Almanac throughout the book as one that inspires Kya--another favorite.
I received an arc of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for my honest review. Sincere thanks!
Rating: it was amazing
Where the crawdads sing is the place "far in the bush where critters are wild, still behaving like critters". That is where Catherine Danielle (Kya) Clark lived all of her life. Her father brought the family to the marshland 4 miles from Barkley Cove, North Carolina after he was wounded in WWII. He was bitter, depressed, reclusive and mean. Finally, Kya's mother couldn't take it any more and in 1952 when Kya was 6 her mother left and never returned. One by one Kya's 4 older siblings also fled their abusive father, and none thought to take Kya along with them. So Kya learned to survive on her own in the marsh, keeping away from her drunken father for the most part, until suddenly he was gone too. Amazingly, no family or church tried to help this child. She was the Marsh Girl, too different to associate with the polite society of Barkley Cove. She grows up in isolation and is profoundly scarred by her abandonment and solitude. The only people who helped to keep her fed and clothed, and advised her, were a black family who were also not accepted by Barkley Cove. There was one boy who befriended her, Tate Walker who charmingly approached her with gifts of feathers. Later there was another boy, Chase Andrews, and when he was found dead in 1969 Kya was suspected of his murder.
Kya was mesmerized by the natural world that was her home and this book beautifully describes that world. She was very intelligent and self taught and she knew the marsh as a scientist would. However, her knowledge was much deeper because she became as much a part of the marsh as the fireflies, seagulls, shells and grasses that she studied. The author is a scientist, and it shows, but she is also an excellent novelist. Near the end of the book it becomes a really compelling courtroom drama. I was invested in its outcome and had no idea how it would (or should) turn out. Kya has depths that not only the residents of Barkley Cove but the readers cannot guess. I'd be happy to read more by this author.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
Rating: really liked it
A high 4 stars
Where the Crawdads Sing was beautiful, sad and somewhat joyful. Set in the 1950s and 1960s in the marshlands of North Carolina, the story focuses on Kya, who at age 6 is essentially abandoned in a shack by her whole family. Somehow, with very little help, she manages to raise herself, surviving on her love for and deep understanding of the natural world. In parallel, the story focuses on a murder that takes place in 1969. Slowly, Kya’s life and the unsolved murder come together. There was a lot I loved about this book. The natural setting and the author’s love of nature are potent and palpable. The author does a fabulous job dealing with the consequences of abandonment and loneliness. The author also does a good job of conveying a sense of the times, and the effects of racism and economic inequality. It’s hard to read this one without crying, but in the end it felt like a story about resilience more than about desperation. My only criticism is that there were two or three events that were too improbable, overstretching my ability to suspend disbelief. Otherwise, this was a great read. I read it with my reading buddies Angela and Diane, and as always am grateful for these monthly reads. Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for giving me access to an advance copy.
Rating: it was amazing
4.5 Stars Where the Crawdads Sing, a debut novel from Delia Owens, tells the story of Kya, nee Catherine Danielle Clark, or “Marsh Girl” as the locals call her. Kya was born to a violent alcoholic father suffering from PTSD he incurred in WWII, and her beautiful privileged mother, who suffers at the hands of her husband. Of course dad wasn’t always this way, but once he isolates his wife in his family’s run down home, he changes into a man who drinks and abuses his wife and children. The family falls apart. Mom leaves, the older kids leave and Kya ends up living by herself in the swamplands of North Carolina. Kya’s sole source of interest and entertainment is nature and she relishes the birds, the plants, and everything around her. She is taught to read by Tate, a boy that fishes near her home. Tate puts the idea into her head to try and publish some of her drawings and writings on nature, and Kya is published. But Kya chooses to remain in the marsh, unable to adapt to the outside world . There are several lovely characters who live near the swamp, while the townspeople are judgmental and cruel except for Tate.
Kya grows into a beautiful young woman and sparks the interest of an upper class former football star from town who will only cause her only more pain, loneliness and abandonment. When his mysterious death occurs in the marsh, Kya becomes embroiled in a southern courtroom drama. Delia Owens is a very talented storyteller and her gift lies in the details. Kya’s emotions are palpable. The writing is lyrical when Owens describes Kya’s relationship with nature and all of the living creatures she treasures.
Many thanks to Netgalley and G.P. Putnam and Sons for the ARC in exchange for this review.