“Where the Crawdads Sing” is a book I received from Diana, a very dear friend and an avid reader herself. Prior to receiving the beautiful hardcover I didn’t have any idea it existed, I did not even know what a crawdad was 🙂 Zero, nada, nothing at all.
In case you are wondering, a crawdad (also called crayfish) is a small animal that lives in rivers and it is similar to a small lobster.
In a nutshell
The book tells the story of Kya, a girl who grows up isolated in a marsh in North Carolina, in the USA. Her life follows an interesting path, as “the Marsh Girl” becomes a self-educated biologist and has to fight for her freedom against all odds. It is a coming-of-age story about biases and the power of community, love and abandonment, passion and perseverance. For a visual description of the story (no spoilers), check out these illustrations by Laurel from Coffee Clouds ❤
I started reading “Where the Crawdads Sing” with no expectations and I was completely swept off my feet! It got me hooked up from the first pages and I managed to read it in only 2 nights – the classic “one more chapter and then I go to sleep” until 2 AM. I can say with all my heart that it was totally worth it! Without giving up too much, I want to detail on 2 topics: self-education and the power of the community.
Living in a very harsh environment from all points of view, Kya does not attend school. Instead, she learns about what she’s known for all her life – the marsh. For Kya, studying the marsh is not only her “job”, her day-to-day occupation, but it is also her channel for learning about the world (for example, she learns about deceit by observing the dishonest signals of fireflies).
While reading the book I found out how a marsh differs from a swamp: a marsh is dominated by herbaceous plants while a swamp is dominated by trees and other woody plants (WorldAtlas.com).
The power of the Community
In Kya’s story, the power of the community is twofold: on one hand, she gets support from few people that significantly help her throughout her journey, just like fairies in a fairy tale; on the other hand, the collective and misguided opinion on the “Marsh Girl” threatens her freedom. I think Owens depicted well how people are usually afraid of what they do not understand.
Book club kit
On Delia Owens’ website you can find a compelling book club guide – link here. It might have been developed when the book was chosen for Reese Witherspoon’s book club.
I definitely recommend reading “Where the Crawdads Sing” if you’re into mystery books, action-driven plots, and/or education-related books. But … I also recommend reading this book even if you’re not into these types of books – it is one of the best books I read this year and I think it might become your favourite book 🙂
‘Till next time … happy reading!
Cover image and shell image from DeliaOwnens.com | Painting by Jenn from The Bibliophile