“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.

Crawdads-shell-sepia-800w

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

Overall impression

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.

Self-education

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).

where the crawdads sing painting jennifer marie lin
Lovely painting inspired by the book by Jenn from The Bibliophile

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.

where the crawdads sing book club kit readers high tea
Extracts from the book club kit from DeliaOwens.com

Wrap-up 

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!

Georgiana


Cover image and shell image from DeliaOwnens.com | Painting by Jenn from The Bibliophile

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