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Blog Post - 'Where the crawdads sing' by Delia Owens Book Review by Our Mumble Books Reader, Megan Martin-Foy

22 Nov 2021

I’ve fallen sucker to ‘Book Tok’. A trend on the social media platform, Tik Tok, where people post videos about their favourite books. It’s become so popular that they’ve even erected a stand in Waterstones! Promoting the same publications that have been trickling through my explore feed. So when I saw ‘Where the crawdads sing’ written by Delia Owens pop up, I was really interested to read it. At the beginning of this year, I read ‘A thousand splendid suns by Khaled Hosseini, and I have been desperately reading books ever since, trying to find something that made me feel as many emotions as that one did. I’ve been chasing the dragon as some might say, and with this book, I can safely say the dragon has been caught!

‘Where the crawdads sing’ starts its story in 1952, in a quiet town on the North Carolina coast called Barkley Cove. The storyline flicks through time to the 1960s to the murder trial of Chase Andrews.

Barkley Cove is rich with marshland, and home to all sorts of wildlife. Amongst such is a family who haden't been dealt the best of cards. Kya, otherwise known to her neighbours as ‘The Marsh Girl’ is six years old and the youngest in the family. After her mother walks out on her abusive father, abandoning the children, the rest of Kya’s elder siblings follow suit, leaving just Kya and her father. Kya’s father was an abusive man, troubled with his past and self-medicating with his alcohol addiction. A softer side of her dad starts to emerge in the book whilst bonding over the marshland around them. But inevitably she ends being completely abandoned in the marsh. The way Owens describes the marsh was so beautifully vivid. She was describing think swampland, but in a way that painted it to be a secret tropical paradise. I felt like I could sense the humidity and hear the peaceful isolated hums of wildlife. I loved the way she also described Kya’s animal-like survival instincts, how she could hear any sudden noises or could sense another looming presence around her.

Almost everyone in Barkley Cove is prejudiced against ‘The Marsh Girl’, apart from a very minuscule selection of genuine people. Tate, her first love other than the marsh, being one of them. Kya falling in love with Tate was my favourite part to read in the book. It was her first encounter with feeling wanted and loved, and you could really sense Kya’s vulnerability in these parts. At one point Tate kisses her and it reads ‘for the first time in her life, her heart was full’. When Kya’s met Chase Andrews, her second love, you could just sense something wasn’t right from the start. He didn’t share the same love for the land as her and didn’t at all seem as genuine as Tate did. Chase to me gave off a very egotistical aura, a very unattractive personality trait I have come across all too often in real life. I really didn’t want Kya to fall for him, but her yearning for acceptance and love was far too strong for any wild instincts she had.

I can safely say that the book had me feeling a true pick n’ mix of emotions. It was such a page-turner, and I have already recommended it to a few of my friends and family. It really is such a heart-warming tale and told in such a beautiful way, who thought swampland could sound so romantic and picturesque. I really do urge people to dead this tale, and like me, be transported to where the crawdads sing.