Where the Crawdads Sing – Review

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For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

Where the Crawdads Sing was definitely a “bookstagram made me do it” grab. When I saw this on the new releases shelf at the library, I impulsively decided to give it a read. The blurb sounded right up my alley and the hype surrounding this book practically insured I’d love reading it. Despite all this novel had going for it, I still wasn’t completely satisfied.

I’m not normally someone who needs a book to be incredibly realistic to enjoy reading, but I struggled with the believability of Crawdads. I had a hard time imagining a 7-year-old girl could make it in the marsh completely alone. There was only one instance speaking of a potential illness Kya faces, but other than that moment, she never got sick. I’m left scratching my head pondering this. It’s also improbable on one of her many trips to town through the years, the authorities would not have snatched her up and placed her in foster care. Solitary survival for as many years as Kya was faced with, with few incidents seems laughably unlikely, which made me feel an emotional detachment to a book that should have tugged on my heartstrings.

Though I never wanted to stop reading because I was curious about the ending of the story and what would become of Kya, I found the book to be painfully slow. The ever-changing perspectives and past to present time warps made this story seem to drag excessively in some areas. The main reason I was able to stick with it was simply for Kya and the lifestyle she experienced in the story. She was incredibly likable and relatable, despite her unique circumstances. I also enjoy Southern US Fiction immensely, along with the vivid descriptions of the landscape. I think it’s fair to say lovers of Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate would find this book similarly appealing.

I was constantly waiting for a big twist or heartwrenching moment to occur. The ending almost did it for me. In fact, I enjoyed the ending of the book most of all. However, I still could not get past my few hangups enough to enjoy this book to the extent I imagined I would.

Don’t take my word for it, plenty of people loved this book and I’m clearly in the minority with my three-star review. I still found the story beautifully written and engaging, despite my issues. I only wish I could have had the experience many of my fellow readers did.

Purchase on Amazon.


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13 Comments Add yours

  1. AGREED WITH ALL OF THE ABOVE!!!! It was slow. Parts were unbelievable. And I didn’t even think about how she never got sick BUT GREAT POINT! I don’t want to give away any spoilers (though I will in my blog tonight when I write about this) but while I saw the end “twist” coming, I found it somewhat unbelievable. The whole “plan” just was very out of character for her. I totally agree with everyone. Beautifully written, but not my favorite book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m eager to see what you have to say! I will stop by your blog tonight to check it out.
      That plan was out of character. That’s a great point too! The more I think about it, the more it doesn’t seem to fit.
      I really can’t seem to understand the hype for this one. I didn’t get the feeling from it that I was supposed to.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. https://stacksandsnacks.home.blog/2019/02/28/where-the-crawdads-sing/

        I posted – with lots of spoilers hahaha but it makes it a good place to talk about what you thought about the ending. I’m curious if you agree with me!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Elisabeth P. says:

    Loved reading your review, Ashley! I haven’t read this book yet, but it’s one of those super hyped that grabbed my attention.
    Yes, sometimes despite the excellent prose and evolution of the characters, I find difficult to like books when they don’t sound quite realistic. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      I can’t debate the stunning writing with anyone who loves this book, but those few niggling questions made it a challenge for me. That’s something I haven’t encountered a lot of as a reader, so it made for an interesting experience.


  3. Sorry you did not enjoy this book. I did like it quite a bit but I admit you had to suspend your believably factor.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading my review! I thought it was beautifully written and so descriptive. I just wish I could’ve been absorbed in it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great review! Sorry it wasn’t better though! I will definitely keep the age thing in mind when reading this and not dwell on it. I feel the same way you do with books..it has to be believable for me to give a stellar review or enjoy it to the fullest potential.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I appreciate you reading my review.
      I hate that I didn’t enjoy this as much as I expected to. The writing was beautiful though!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Abby says:

    Excellent review! Your observations are spot on and I agree – how does very young Kya survive out there all by herself? I had to put aside my practical side and just go with it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Abby! Normally things like that don’t bother me too much, but for some reason, this book made it hard for me.

      Liked by 1 person

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