Book reviews

My copy of Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens stated on the cover that the book was a Sunday Times bestseller with over five million copies sold worldwide. I might be the only person on earth who didn’t love it.

Around Barkley Cove, Kya Clark was known derogatively as ‘the Marsh girl’. Abandoned at six-years old by her mother and elder siblings, she was left to fend for herself in a remote shack in North Carolina without running water or electricity with just her alcoholic, abusive father to take care of her. He left little Kya alone for days on end and eventually left for good.

The good people of Barkley Cove were more concerned that their own children didn’t catch fleas from Kya than they were in helping her. Kya muddled along without them and although she didn’t go to school she grew up to be self-reliant and strong, with assistance from a poor black man who occasionally provided her with food and clothing and from Tate, an older boy who also lived in the marsh who taught her to read.

Kya and Tate fell in love as teenagers but he eventually abandoned her after gaining an opportunity to study science at university. Kya, who was also a self-taught expert on the natural world of the marsh was left bereft after Tate left. Eventually she met Chase, another boy from the town and started an affair with him, although Chase didn’t want anyone to know that they were seeing each other (always a bad sign). Kya eventually learned that Chase was planning to marry someone else.

While I enjoyed reading about the marsh, the paths through the waterways, birds, shells and the grasses, I struggled to find Kya’s life, self-education and romances to be believable. The thought of an abandoned six-year old girl bringing herself up alone in a remote marsh was also too far-fetched for me, let alone the idea of her becoming a successful author, poet and self-educated scientist.

I also disliked the dialogue which was awkward and overly filled with ‘git’ as in “We better git the sheriff” and abbreviated words such as ‘ain’t’ and ‘movin.’ I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I dislike dialect in novels to the point where it influences how I feel about a book.

Anyhow, I reckon y’all can prob’bly guess at whether I’ll be recommendin’ Where the Crawdad’s Sing or not without my spellin’ it out.

Comments on: "Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens" (10)

  1. love your sign off, perfect! I was glad to see that you were reviewing this because I see it everywhere and had no idea what it was about – I agree with you, the story of abandonment and struggle sounds promising but I like a story to be believable and this does sound groaningly neat. Sounds like a teen film actually. . .

  2. I’ve been seeing this book everywhere and never wanted to read it. Thanks for sharing your opinions – this is probably the only negative review I’ve encountered!

  3. I’ve heard so much about this one and it does seem like everyone loves it so I’m kind of glad to hear from the opposing side. I didn’t realize the main character was so young; I would struggle to accept that a six-year-old could survive on her own too. Have you read Educated? The self-education kind of reminds me of that but Educated makes a lot more sense (and is a true memoir).

  4. I quite enjoyed the descriptions of the marsh and the nature, but the story! I can’t believe so many other people loved it. The story ended with the main character as an elderly woman, but really flew through her last years to get there, but otherwise, yes, this could have been written for YA

  5. I know! I’ve read several reviews of this book since I wrote mine and I seem to be the only person who didn’t love it. Never mind, we’re all different.

  6. The book wasn’t really for me and apart from the lovely descriptions of the marsh and wildlife I can’t imagine why anyone else did like it!
    I hadn’t heard of Educated but have just looked it up and it does sound interesting. It might be too similar to Where the Crawdads Sing for me for the moment, though.

  7. I’ve heard the author is a naturalist and has written some non-fiction about that region before. Educated is probably too similar a book to follow, but maybe in the future!

  8. Well, I’m glad I di’nt git a copy of this one! The idea that the locals would leave her to fend for herself when she was so young is too unbelievable for me, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been convinced by her miraculous self-education either. I must admit it never appealed to me despite the fifty thousand glowing reviews I’ve read of it, so I’m kinda feelin’ vindicated right now – sorry! 😀

  9. I was expecting to love this as I’m usually a sucker for a best-seller! Glad you’re enjoying feeling vindicated 😉

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