Book Review – Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads SingWhere the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just finished reading Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. It is a murder mystery that is wrapped in a story about nature and female empowerment. The protagonist is a young woman who grows up in abject poverty, living in the marshlands of coastal North Carolina. One by one her family abandons her because of her worthless abusive father. He drives them all away until in the end only she is left. She learns barely enough to survive on her own before her father abandons her as well.
The story alternates between two timelines separated initially by seventeen years and they slowly intersect as Kya grows up. The murder timeline is set in rural 1969 Barkley Cove, North Carolina. One of the town peacocks, former football star, Chase Andrews, has fallen off a tower with no solid evidence as to how, but the town sheriff thinks something nefarious has happened, due to the lack of fingerprints or footprints in the marshy land.
We learn a lot about the marsh and how Kya survives, but also how profoundly lonely she is through much of her teens and early twenties. This part was not a hard slog, but it was uncomfortable to see her living in these conditions and very few willing to help her.
The writing is colorful and despite a lot of detail, Owens holds my attention. We pity the young woman, but I didn’t have any real emotional moments until the end of the book. The courtroom drama is well done and the verdict brings all the emotions into a rolling boil.
I won’t spoil the finish, but suffice to say it is not a run of the mill ending. It was satisfying.
Another thing to mention is the poetry that is sprinkled in. It is wonderful and stark and extraordinary. I am not a poetry aficionado, but the poems really struck a chord with me, enough that I wanted to look up the writer. I would buy a book of poetry by her. In actually I already did. I will leave that for you to puzzle out.
The finish is so strong that I can give this book my recommendation.

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