RBCxHS September '18: Where The Crawdads Sing
Surviving for years alone in the marshlands of North Carolina, Kya Clark becomes a local curiosity and earns the name of “Marsh Girl” at a very young age. When a local ex-football star is found dead in the late 1960’s, The Marsh Girl becomes the main suspect.
Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is the Reese's Book Club x Hello Sunshine pick for September 2018! Mystery, hope, and heartbreak take you through an emotional rollercoaster that I have not quite recovered from yet. Split into two alternating timelines, readers follow Kya’s life as a young child into her early twenties, while also slowly learning about the discovery of the dead Chase Andrews and the proceedings of his case. This book is perfectly structured to provide an intense level of suspense while forcing you to be patient and learn more about the who, the what, and the why of Kya, her town, and Chase Andrews.
There are so many lessons to be learned from this book and it will make you cry, make you HULK LEVEL ANGRY, and will fill you with waves of hope and happiness. I want to explain more about the book but I’m doing my best to keep this section free of details. I read this novel knowing nothing about it (not even a synopsis) and it made the story even better, so I recommend you do the same!
If you look below, you’ll see that I gave this book a rating of “OMG SO DAMN GOOD” - and that should be enough for you to go and check it out. If you’ve already read the book, scroll to the end to read my thoughts on it!
If you would like to find out more about Reese's Book Club and/or follow along as well, here are some helpful links!
Reese's Book Club x Hello Sunshine Website: hello-sunshine.com/book-club
Complete List of Monthly Picks: hello-sunshine.com/post/reeses-book-club-all-picks
** Spoilers Ahead **
UGH. “UGH” is the sound my heart made for most of the book. I am very aware that this is a fictional novel, but Delia made Kya feel SO REAL and her struggles made my heart ache.
What is a child to do when there is no one there to help them? Survival is instinctual but the tools to do so are generally taught by those with experience. With every lesson that Kya learned all on her own, I felt a huge sense of pride in her accomplishments. Instead of feeling pity for herself, she founds ways to make her life work. She never once begged or sulked or stole, but rather, she was resourceful and intuitive and determined. She founds ways to support herself when no one else would or could. When every person in her life abandoned her, she didn’t spit in society’s face, but found solace in her marsh and her circumstances, and even opened herself up to love twice. It may have made her an outcast but she was content with the marsh as her mother and the gulls as her family. She took what she had and found her own brand of happiness. What a powerful lesson!
However, her determination to survive is what made her heartbreaks even more devastating. While Kya moved on and didn’t let her pain destroy her, I was seething with rage with a book in my hands, feeling as though I could punch anyone in the face! It shows what an entitled jerk I am. Kya overcame so many obstacles, and yet I’m still pissed off that her Mom just walked away, still seething that her Father showed her a bit of kindness and then a lot of cruelty, and still beyond bitter that her favorite brother walked away and didn’t come back for her until years later.
Part of what also made her story difficult is knowing that Kya was a child in obvious need of help. It is hard because it makes you think about all the children that actually exist and face very similar circumstances. I spent so much time judging the townsfolk of Barkley Cove for not doing anything to help, and then I realize that I’ve never helped out a struggling child either. Most people generally focus on how they would handle the welfare of their own child or kin, but when it comes to other people’s children or strangers - well, that isn’t your problem. It broke my heart because this isn’t just a fictional issue, it is a real issue and this story exposes this very real tragedy. Not only did they not help, but they were full of unfair prejudices and judgement. How often do we, as a society, judge others without making an effort to find out more about them? Yet again, another powerful lesson from Delia Owens.
I loved this book so much for the abundance of lessons to be learned. Things that are discarded can be beautiful and important, like Kya and her marsh. Both are treated like waste but both thrive under their circumstance where others would not. While not having much, they find ways to flourish.
Also, can we talk about that ending?! It was SOO DAMN GOOD. Once again, Kya took care of herself when no one else would or could. I fully support her decision for doing it, for not telling her husband, for being SO DAMN SMART, and for taking advantage of the “dumb marsh girl” stereotype that the jerks in town made her out to be. GOOD ON YOU, KYA! Good on you!
If you’ve also read this book, let me know your thoughts on the comments below! Did this book have the same impacts on you? I’d love to read your thoughts!