Book Review: Where The Crawdads Sing

So much hype and buzz over a book and it all seemed to have missed me at the time, then I finally decided to take a bite out of the popularity I seemed to be missing. I am beyond glad that I did! This book took me by surprise! This week on the blog, we review and share our thoughts on Delia Owens’ Where The Crawdads Sing, have a read.

They made her laugh out loud; filled up a few lonely minutes of a long, lonely day.

Pg. 115


Abandoned by her mother at the age of 6, left with her severely abusive and alcoholic father, child of the marsh, Kya grows up alone and adapts to a life of isolation and living amongst nature. As she grows she learns to rely solely on herself and the safety of the marsh world, taking her life lessons from nature, in some ways she learns to “thrive” in the safety of the marsh. Living on the fringes of society, Kya is invisible, but also in someways she is very visible due to her difference. After the murder of Chase Andrews, a notable character in Barkley Cove, the townspeople quickly blame Kya for his murder. By ripping her life of isolation away from her and thrusting her in the midst of gossip and peering eyes.


Kya ( Catherine Danielle Clark ) : Abandoned at 6 years old,
Tate Walker : Kya’s first love and companion, shares her love of the marsh, encouraged her learning and taught her how to read
Jodie Clark : Kya’s brother, the only one she remembers and later reconnects with
Jumpin‘ : Kya’s de facto father, protects and looks out for her throughout the years.
Chase Andrews : All round American jock, quarterback, and town playboy
Ma & Pa : Kya and Jodie’s parents

Tate was more than her first love: he shared her devotion to the marsh, had taught her to read, and was the only connection, however small, to her vanished family.

Pg 198

The Break Down

I get it now. Sometimes when books are caught up in the hype of social media and trends, you get whisked into it as well and begin reading, and you ask yourself why you bothered, because you got coned. This book is the very opposite. I literally get it now. It’s a mixture of wistful and haunting, so deeply captivating, I am almost speechless. It’s been a while since I’ve picked up a book, which truly pulled me into the world the author painted so vividly with their words. Delia Owens’ experience as a zoologist, really comes to light in her work, it is detailed, it is captivating; in some ways it is romantic.

What I loved so much about this book, is it’s hard to sit down and write this blog post, because it will not do justice to the beautiful scenery and amazing way in which the author painted the image of the marsh. From the way Kya grew up to and grew into herself, shying away from people and in some ways living like a victim, to her stepping into herself and realizing that her life was hers to live. She never let the fact that she didn’t know how to do something stop her, she learnt, she adapted, she became one with the marsh, and living by way of the marsh. Her ability to track the seasons, the weather, the time of year all based on the patterns within nature became her strongest weapon in the end. Her blaming her mother all of her life for abandoning her and then unfortunately living with the actions of an abusive partner, suddenly triggering the fight in her to not be like her mother. In many ways she’s not the typical heroine because she laterally shys away from being noticed, but she is very much a strong female lead solely on her ability to not only survive, but thrive in the marshes, and later on in life her knowledge ends up educating and being a source of knowledge to others, despite her reluctance to see and accept it as such. Though I teetered back and forth on whether I believed she in fact killed Chase or not, it didn’t stun me to find out the truth and in some ways I could see why she needed to do it. Again, her knowledge of the marsh environment and the fact that no one notices her being her biggest assets.

Book Club Questions

Q: How does the North Carolina marsh setting shape the story? In what ways does the setting seem like another character in the novel?
A: I can completely attest that the marsh setting is like another character in the book, the ways in which Kya learned from it, the tides, the wildlife, the micro creatures, all of this not only captivated Kya, but it also captivated the reader. In some ways, the details of the marsh gave some pretty big clues in the end, just knowing how much Kya adapted to living in the marsh, to how resilient she is and also how she is essentially an encyclopedia, how could we discount the fact that she would be able to use all of this in order to commit the “perfect crime”. Maybe in some ways the marsh helped her do it.

Q: How do Kya’s observations of nature influence her understanding of the world? Give examples of how Kya’s decisions were influenced by things she saw in nature.
A: Many of Kya’s pivotal life moments, were learnt from nature; Delia Owen references it many times throughout the book. The mention of the firefly being a main one, but also watching the way male birds attempt to sway female birds, the ways in which female fireflies change their signals depending on if they’re luring a mate or if they will eat him. I feel as if Kya drew strength from this. She even references the fact that injured mother foxes will leave their babies to fend for themselves because they can’t help their cubs, this is how Kya viewed the departure of her mother back when she was 6. I think all of the major life lessons Kya learns is from nature, realizing that we are not all that different

Q: Contrast Kya’s relationships with Chase and Tate. What do each of them offer her, and what does she represent to them?
A: Kya’s relationship with Tate and Chase could not be more different, it’s obvious from very early on that her fascination with Chase is more because he’s attractive, popular and isn’t mean to her compared to the other townsfolk. By the time their relationship develops, she’s been heartbroken from Tate and has shut that part of herself away. She uses him as someone to pass the time with and I suppose feels betrayed when he gets married because she eventually allows herself to dream about the possibility of being accepted in Barkley Cove. Her desire to fit in took over her instinct to distrust Chase, until it was too late and he had used her for what he wanted, although I do believe in some way Chase did have feelings for Kya, at the end of the day he knew he was never going to marry her and that the town would never accept her, he was simply never honest with Kya about that. Contrast this with Tate who seemed to have loved Kya from a very young age, he looked out for her, he was her only friend, he taught her how to read, he got to know her for who she was, shared her love of the marsh world and in many ways their friendship was beneficial to the both of them because they learned and studied together. Tate was the shy, studious, patient one and though he loved her, he never pushed her further than where she was willing to go, he respected her uniqueness and loved her for it. He came to her, he loved her where she was and didn’t try to make her someone else. I spent my time willing them together, despite knowing this wasn’t a romance, but I am also very happy that in the end they found their way back to each other.

Q: Do you see Kya as a victim? Why or why not? How did your opinion of her change over the course of the book?
A: By the time the book ended, there is no way I could see Kya other than a hero, she persevered throughout all of the adversity she experienced and she took control of a situation. Her character at 6 is definitely a victim, a victim of poverty, or abuse, of a dysfunctional home, but as she grows, so does her confidence in her ability and the things she can do. Her adaptability and drive for survival makes her the very opposite of a victim, she makes something of herself despite all of the odds.

Q: Did the ending of the book offer the closure you wanted? Were you surprised or disappointed by the way the book ended?
A: As I concluded the book, I genuinely found myself feeling somewhat sad and wistful, because I wouldn’t be a part of Kya’s Marsh world anymore, I wish it didn’t just end once the trial was over. The ending didn’t surprise me, because there were hints throughout the book which I picked up on, knowing how loyal Tate was to Kya in life, I didn’t expect him to do anything different than continue to protect her in death. In many ways, the book ended like it needed to, subtly and somewhat hauntingly.


The majority of the book is spent on Kya growing up and adapting to life alone in the marsh, so by the time the trial came along, I was feeling like there wouldn’t be enough pages to fully provide the details, but it was managed. But I suppose it’s not a full negative, more like a semi one because I wanted to be taken into the character’s world, but felt like I couldn’t because the book was almost complete.

Would I Recommend?

100%, it’s definitely a yes! It’s alluring, captivating, such a wonderful way of stroking the images of the marsh life and Kya’s resilience. It’s a great read!

RnR Rating

4 out of 5 stars for sure!

Book Club Questions: BookBub

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: