Book Review of Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing
reviewed on
Helpful Score: 3


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.