What I Loved:
I didn’t really love this book. I’m just going to get that out in the open now. So, here’s what I did love.
The beautiful descriptive writing was lovely. Delia Owens can definitely describe things in detail.
The excitement and anticipation of reading this book was super fun. I bought this book in late August or early September of 2019, and I featured it on Instagram 10 times before I had even read it! It’s even part of the header image of this blog. I was that excited about it. I always love hearing about a good book and being so excited to start the journey for myself after reading all the fabulous reviews! And there are approximately 364,000 people on Goodreads that thought this was 5-star worthy. So, I was hearing about this book everywhere and I was excited!!
How I Felt:
And then I was let down. Overall, this book felt like someone just writing beautiful descriptions of things. I honestly did not find the plot of the story enticing, captivating, or worth the hype. So, here’s why this fell flat for me.
The Characters: Kya is the main character in Where the Crawdads Sing, but I didn’t ever really get to know her. She felt distant to me, and as the reader, I needed her to a bit more open with me. She wasn’t an unreliable narrator, she was the main character, and I was learning about her story. I needed her to have more depth and personality. Chase and Tate both make flip flops on their personalities, switching back and forth between the good guy and the bad guy. It made me dislike both of them. I would have preferred it if Kya had sent them both away.
The Required Suspension of Disbelief was too much for me. Kya is 6 or 7 when she starts living on her own. Every time she hid or ran away from the truancy person, I was a bit shocked that the truancy officer just let it go. It would have made more sense if that entire character had just been removed from the story. When Kya learns to read, she goes from completely illiterate to a poetry reader in, what felt like, a day. Then, she goes on to become an award-winning writer. That’s an amazing accomplishment, the story just moved so fast through that part. Finally, I can’t understand how a 6-year-old didn’t fall in the marsh and be eaten by an alligator. End of book. I have a 6 and 8-year-old, and there’s no way they could survive on their own in our well-built, amenity-filled home, let alone a swamp. I just did not understand. The author could have easily made her a little older before she had to be on her own, and it would have made a lot more sense.
I’ve come to realize that these things bothered me because this book is listed as historical fiction and mystery. If this had been a fantasy novel, I would have let every item I listed above go, but in historical fiction, I’m looking for a bit more of a realistic story-line.
The Writing: Delia Owens paints pretty pictures with her words, and I feel that people truly enjoyed Where the Crawdads Sing because of her descriptive writing. The text below is a perfect example. This feels like it is full of emotion, but if you take the “as the leaves rained and danced around them as silently as snow.” I don’t think readers would like it as much. It’s her way with words when it comes to nature that draws the reader in.
Then, as she whirled around, she bumped into Tate, who had stood, and they froze, staring into each other’s eyes. They stopped laughing. Tate took her shoulders, hesitated an instant, then kissed her lips, as the leaves rained and danced around them as silently as snow.”Where the Crawdads Sing
For me, the book felt more like a descriptive textbook of nature, rather than a Historical Fiction Mystery. There are terribly long passages describing every detail imaginable on every nature-oriented item in a scene. Then, I would get through the nature scene, and nothing would really happen. It made the story extremely slow, and honestly, a bit boring.
The Plot: I say plot, because that’s how I format my reviews, but I’m not sure it is right for this book. Where the Crawdads Sing is a story of Kya growing up and a murder mystery. I just kept waiting for a plot to emerge, and I know there’s a murder to solve, but I wasn’t even interested when Chase died because he’s a major jerk. It made me not even care to find out who killed him. I just kind of felt like, “oh, so he died, okay”. Kya’s portion of the story was filled with so many bland, uneventful scenes, that overall, I was just waiting for the end.
Content Warnings: Rape, child abandonment, racism.
Overall: Clearly, I did not enjoy this book. I am, however, ONE person. There are 364,000 people on Goodreads that loved it so much, it’s a 5 star for them. So, if the synopsis sounds great to you, give it a try! You may have the same experience as me (and 50,000 others that rated this a 3 star or less), but you may not. You may love it, and I honestly hope you do, because there’s nothing better than a good book!
To Read or Not To Read:
I believe that you may enjoy Where the Crawdads Sing if you enjoy slow-burn general fiction novels. I would not read this book if you are looking for a thriller or something that will propel you from page to page.
Where to Find This Book:
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is available at these sites.
For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.
Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.
Just the Facts:
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
- Genre: Historical Fiction / Mystery
- Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
- Pub Date: August 14, 2018
I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book for free. I am leaving my honest, unbiased review voluntarily.
All Amazon links are affiliate links.
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