This book has been on my radar for some time. It’s one-part mystery, one-part ‘coming-of-age’. It begins with Kya, known as “Marsh Girl”, in 1952. A young girl who is slowly deserted by all her family to be left with her drunken, abusive father. The mystery element explores a murder scene, where sheriffs find Chase Andrews in 1969.
From the first few pages of the book, you can tell that Kya is a complex character. Yet, I think you can see the determination in her character from the start. As the book spans across 17 years, the reader is present for Kya’s life journey, from childhood to maturity.
The one thing that I do want to say about this book is that I feel Owens has carefully intertwined themes of prejudice and race, which are incredibly important. In a day and age where social media exists, judgement occurs more than ever. Whereas Owens takes us back into the 50s/60s to show how it exists in these decades too and I feel it gives an element of reflection when reading the book. The reader may relate to certain elements, an example that I can think of is where Kya was judged by the kids at school and how that made her feel, to the extent that she never returned to school education.
I think you root for Kya throughout the storyline, especially more than ever when Tate comes onto the scene. He appears like the perfect guy, starting by teaching her to read, boosting her confidence that she can achieve and then falling in love with her. It is adorable, I’ve got to admit. But Owens also shows his flaws. He is concerned with how Kya would fit into his life, the theme of prejudice intertwined here too.
The mystery side to the book is there, but it’s not particularly exciting. It’s a much slower pace that you’d expect, although Owens might have done so to fit with the pace of other chapters. I can’t say much about Chase and Kya (without spoilers) but it’s worth paying attention too during the book.
From the reviews on GoodReads, this book appears to either be completely loved or completely hated. And to be honest, I’d say that I’m neither. I loved parts of the book, but not all of it. There is a reflection element based on the themes that are presented within the story-line and to put it simply, it is a good book.
Have you read Where the Crawdads Sing? What did you think?
For July’s book club, we’ll be reading The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver and we’d love more readers to join in, whether you’ve already read it or are yet to read!