"Where The Crawdads Sing" Offers More Than Meets The Eye
Slate Magazine describes the book Where the Crawdads Sing By Delia Owens as “the sort of book that you’ve either never heard of or have already read for your book club.” I don’t know about you, but from the moment I read this book, I haven’t stopped hearing about it.
As a woman who typically shies away from reading for sheer pleasure, I was hesitant to begin this novel. My favorite reads are ones that try my brain and force me to consider the unexpected, to make connections and think critically. So, sure, one could say I was judging a book by its cover when I first saw Where the Crawdads Sing, thinking I was in for a lofty, easy read that I would enjoy and then put down, never to consider again. I should have known better than to think such things, because I was oh-so-wrong.
A sucker for symbolism, I was pleased to discover that this murder mystery is actually riddled with undertones to Owens’ early life that seem to haunt her in ways similar to the protagonist’s journey and almost serve as a public reckoning. In the pages of this book, you’re taken on a tandem journey of a murder investigation and a child’s coming of age, until finally the two stories meet in time.
As an invisible passenger alongside the protagonist, Kya, you’ll join her in experiencing a lifetime of abandonment, framing her scope of the world from which she separates herself. You’ll follow along as a child becomes woman, neglected by a society that refers to her as “Marsh Girl” and her neglection of the social constructs that follow suit. A child whose coming of age is instead in the tune of nature - who feels most comfortable surrounded by the foliage and wildlife of the swamp - the habitat would come to guide her in the most trivial of times. Always critical and always on guard, Kya becomes close with only few, while managing to develop the strongest of relationships in the most unorthodox of ways.
My suggestion? Read this and then read Jeffrey Goldberg’s 18,000 word story in The New Yorker - The Hunted. Consider the similarities. And keep in mind: