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.