Very well written. This book totally immersed me within the first few pages. I was so taken aback on how much I felt I was in the marsh and hanging out with Kya, Tate and Jumpin'. I didn't want to leave. Even after finishing the book I had to go make me some beans and onions with some fried corn just to hold onto it a little more.
This one is definitely a keeper and will forever be remembered.
I finished Crawdads a few days ago, and believe it will be one of the books of the year. Images from that story still pop into my head. To think a woman who worked in Africa for many years and now lives in Idaho could write such a detailed, vibrant book of the NC marshes is just amazing. The swamps were alive, the characters perfectly drawn with no one over-colored. The storyline of a little girl surviving with the bare help of one man and his wife, and how she managed it was beyond interesting. Granted, she was as clever as all get out, and a quick learner, but how she survived is almost unbelievable, yet believable. The story itself was imaginative, the mystery intriguing, and so well woven that until the last few pages, I never guessed the whodunit!
I really hope you don't have to wait to get your copy of this beautiful book - I hope someone will give it to you as gift or something. I have been reading for probably over 60 years, and I do believe this book will be in my top 5!! It is mesmerizing. I can't even tell you what effect it has on your soul because it is so believable and touching.So very different from anything I have ever read.
Please, save your money and get this book.
Beautifully written book. Story of a girl/woman growing up in the NC/SC coastal marsh area. Her family is poor and they live in a shack on the marshland. Story takes place through the late 50s and 60s. In the very first chapters we see her abusive, alcoholic father, her mother who leaves in the very beginning in an effort to save herself but leaves her 5 children behind, and then the older siblings who also leave. Kya, age 6, is left with her father who also abandons her in a few years. She had no contact with the outside world except for occasional trips to town to stock up on supplies and essentially raised herself. This seemed a little incredulous. But the emotions Kya feels of abandonment and loneliness are so sad and overwhelming and it really hit me.
After raising herself in the marsh and communing with nature - shells, birds, etc - she is taught to read by a friend of one of her brothers. Tate. They fall in love but Tate ends up abandoning her also to college and his immaturity. She then bumps into another town boy, Chase, and they fall in love. Both of these relationships begin with her loneliness and desire for human contact. But Chase also abandons her. Then Chase is dead and there is the other part of the story - trying to solve what may be a murder.
The chapters alternate between the story of Kya and the story of solving the murder. Of course the stories intertwine and Kya ends up on trial for murder. There is a happy ending. And then there is a surprise ending. I'm still not sure what I think about the surprise ending. There were clues along the way in comparisons to nature and relationships among male and female animals when mating (Kya's only knowledge source since she grew up alone and unable to witness human relationships) but I did not catch the clues. Overall, I think it works for the book. Very good book.
I feel like I need to begin by saying I have both a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in English literature, and, for the life of me, I am unable to understand why anyone thinks highly of this book. I couldn't make it any farther than 3 hours into the audiobook. The story struck me as boring, meandering, and pointless. It just doesn't seem to go anywhere. While I feel for the little girl, Kya, and her plight, it's so monumentally depressing and the abuse and abandonment she suffers so extreme that it didn't seem worth finishing. The world is a bad place, especially for women and those living in extreme poverty. I get it. I didn't need to spend my rare free time for reading immersed in it.
I loved this book! I loved that it followed the main character her entire life. I love that it touched on sensitive subjects enough to make the point but not too much. I love the way it ended. This is a must read book.
There was so much hype for this book that I had to listen to the audio. It was a pleasant enough experience and the writing did flow well. It is a heartbreaking coming-of-age story and a tale of nature, poetry, love, murder and courtroom drama. Kya is the Marsh Girl from Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. It is 1969 and two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty and Kya opens herself to a new life--until the unthinkable happens. Chase Andrews is found dead and the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark. The courtroom drama follows and we get to see how the town handles a strange girl from the marsh who is tried for murder. Also, if you love nature and poetry then you should read this book.
I heard about this book from an article on the CBS Sunday Morning Show about Delia Owens and her best-selling novel. After seeing this, I reserved the book at the library and finally after waiting a few months, I was able to read this wonderful story. It is a very memorable novel that is in part a coming of age story, a murder mystery, a courtroom drama, and a love story all rolled into one.
The book alternates in time starting in 1952 and tells the story of Kya Clark, known to the locals on the Carolina coast as the Marsh Girl. Kya was abandoned by her mother at a young age when her mother could no longer take the abuses of her husband. Then after her mother leaves, Kya's brothers and sisters also take flight leaving Kya alone in a shack on the edge of the marsh with her monster of a father who also eventually disappears leaving Kya on her own. But Kya has one friend, Tate, a local son of a shrimp fisherman, who takes an interest in Kya and even teachers her to read. But Kya mostly stays to her self collecting bird feathers and other fauna and flora of the marsh which she eventually becomes an expert in. And then Tate goes off to college and Kya is once again abandoned. But someone else comes into her life, the local football hero, Chase Andrews, who winds up dead at the bottom of an old fire tower in 1969.
The book alternates between Kya's life growing up and the death of Chase including how the local police tend to believe that he was murdered and eventually decide that Kya is the prime suspect. But could she have done this? The story really had a lot going for it including a great cast of characters including Kya and Tate as well as some of the other locals such as Jumpin', an older African American who traded with Kya for gasoline for her boat and other necessities. The backdrop of the story was also more than interesting, set in the marshes of the Carolina coast, the story is full of descriptions of the nature of the area and really makes the reader a part of the locale. This includes "way out yonder, where the crawdads sing..." A very high recommendation for this one!
What a beautiful and compelling tale! Kya is a wonderful character that you just can't help but root for. The rich atmosphere, the larger than life characters, the emotional ride from start to finish make for a wondrous and touching read that will stay with me. A true keeper!
Loved this book! Aya is abandoned by her mother at an early age, her siblings walk away, and she's left with an alcoholic, abusive father growing up in the marshlands of NC. Eventually, he too just doesn't come home. Rumors in the small town surround her - she is scorned, laughed at, taunted. After her first, and only, day at school she determines she no longer needs human contact. However, one of the local boys befriends her and teaches her to read. What follows is a wonderful story of friendship, making yourself vulnerable, learning, and betrayal. When a local former high school football star turns up dead, everyone assumes it was marsh girl. The descriptions of the marshland, local flora and fauna are beautiful!
A real page-turner. Kya is a girl who has been abandoned and manages to survive in the marshes of NC. Her love and mastery of nature influence every page of this book. When Kya allows others into her world, she is accused of a terrible crime. Kya is one of the most fascinating characters I have read of in a long time.
Ummm. What to say. At the library where I volunteer, several patrons recommended this book to me. Normally I stick to mysteries and SF; I tend not to like "chick lit", or anything described as "heartbreaking". But what the heck, with that many people telling me about it I'll give it a try.
So it's got a lot of really nice lyrical descriptions of the marshes, and the swamplands, and the little hardscrabble town. I was on board with Kya's early life, that was pretty interesting, but once she meets Tate the whole thing starts to become unbelievable. The murderer is completely obvious and also unbelievable; the author has not shown us that this person could carry out that plan.
Oh well, the descriptions are pretty nice. And at least I've read it so I can join the social conversation now.
One by one, Kya's family slipped away from the tiny cabin in the marsh and from Kya, until finally she was alone. She was ten years old. No money, no food, no adults; she learned to provide for herself and to depend on no one but herself. And always she watched for the return of her mother, because mothers don't leave their children. Except this one did.
They called her the Marsh Girl and intended it as a term of derision. She eventually wore it as a badge of honor. They reluctantly let her attend school but she could only deal with the name-calling and harsh treatment for one day. After that, she returned to the marsh and outsmarted the truant officer every time he showed up.
She dug mussels and caught fish to sell for money to buy grits, even though she scarcely knew how to cook even grits . She lived on them for days on end. She slipped in and out of town, trying to avoid being seen by anyone. And always she explored the marsh, learning of its ways and accepting its treasures.
She collected feathers and shells, common and rare, and as the years passed, she began to catalogue them as if they were in a museum, painting beautiful pictures to accompany them, adding explanatory text based on what she had learned.
Gradually she developed a tentative friendship with her brother's friend Tate, who shared her love of the marsh and its ways. He taught her to read and brought her presents from the marsh they both loved. Then Tate abandoned her like everyone else had.
Chase didn't exactly abandon her. He was never really there with Kya. The former high school football star pretended well with her until the day his body was found, broken and dead, by two young town boys.
During the investigation of his death (murder?), many of the town's old prejudices against the Marsh Girl reappeared. She immediately became the prime suspect, regardless of the evidence or lack thereof. In jail during her trial, Kya grieved her separation from the marsh she so loved.
The ending of this beautiful, sad book gob-smacked me. I'm still trying to work my mind around it but I highly recommend you read it.
This amazing story of the âMarsh Girlâ entered my gut and I became part of Kya's life, living in the Shack in the unwelcome Marsh. I loved her passion for all things nature and her impulsiveness. Her mother walked away when she was six and eventually her sisters and brother left her with a monstrous, abusive father. When he never came back she grew up alone in the shack and learned how to survive.
Many books have affected me emotionally but this one seemed to settle inside and stayed there. It is a heartbreaking, passionate and sensitive novel which brought me to tears.
After waiting a long time to get this book, I'd really anticipated it would be fabulous. I was disappointed in that. The book had a good storyline, I suppose you could call it a romantic mystery, but it didn't do for me what a lot of others felt. Because I mostly read for the prose, the well-written word so to speak--this was just average storytelling. I completely predicted the twist at the end, it was obvious to me.