Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
By Julia Padgett
Recently I heard Rick Bragg speak about how writing needs to be redolent and color the world it is depicting. Owens’ novel speaks to that redolence and how rewarding it can be to the reader. This novel weaves a murder mystery into the story of Kya—a girl abandoned by everyone who is left to survive at a very young age in the marshes of the North Carolina coast. The novel’s opening is a testament to being able to paint a picture of a place and a people all but abandoned by society. We watch as a little girl is left one-by-one by her family until she, at least, realizes that nature is her family. Where the Crawdads Sing tackles heavy issues that are still around today—but does so in a way that makes you recognize the people and the lives. It can make you gaze a bit into your own kneejerk reactions to those that you may not understand. There are bleak moments, sad moments, but it rings true rather than merely sentimental. Owens pulls you into Kya’s life, her fears, her heart, and eventually some triumph over the numerous obstacles that she is faced – including a society that rejects her for being different. This story examines the grey there is in life--- how even the most violent can have redeeming characters and how the purest among us must fight to be free of fear. Kya, Tate, and Chase are three characters that will let you down and still make you smile. And nature is always in the background revealing how animal our human hearts are. It is also a novel that is a sort of love story of North Carolina and its coastal areas. Beware reader, you will get pulled into the place just as much as its inhabitants. Enjoy the richness of Owens’ words. This book will grab you and not let you go until you are left on the beach with shells underfoot—wanting a bit more.