It’s been on my TBR list for awhile, but last week when I met with my fellow PTA executive officers for the 19-20 school year, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens was waiting on the library shelves for the next person to check it out. It is a beautifully written book about “The Marsh Girl.” Intended initially as an insult by the locals, the term marsh girl becomes one that follows Kya to her death and changes meaning along the way to mean something beautiful.
The heartbreak of seeing her mother walk away from her family and the subsequent abandonment by the rest of her family, including her abusive father, leaves a small, but certainly not helpless, child to fend for herself. Kya learns to live with the swamp and coexist with it a way that most people would find repulsive, but when Tate, a young man who finds her beautiful and intriguing in a way that doesn’t frighten her, teaches her to read, Kya absorbs the knowledge and with only going to school one day in her entire life becomes a highly educated woman.
The poetry interwoven throughout the book by local Barkley Cove author Amanda Hamilton brings about new meaning at the end of the book as well, but I won’t ruin the ending by giving it away here. Aside from the poetry, my favorite part of the book was Kya’s interaction with Jumpin’, the man who bought mussels from her, and his wife Mabel - as they were more like parents to her than her own parents were.
This book did not disappoint me in its telling of a great story - one where an outcast, small child grows into a young lady who outwits everyone and writes incredible books about the grasses, birds, and other species native to the place where the crawdads sing.