Book Title: Where the Crawdads Sing
Author: Delia Owens
Report by: Shelly Gansevles (read by Shelly’s book club, the Gads Hill Hotties)
What happens when it’s 1952, your family is poor, and you live in a Marsh? What happens when one by one every family member leaves, and you’re left behind with an alcoholic father who disappears for days on end? What happens when you’re only 6 years old?
Kya is shunned by townspeople as dirty and nicknamed “The Marsh Girl”. Yet this is a story of a child who not only survives in the Marsh but thrives in her surroundings. She navigates lagoons and waterways using her Pa’s boat, buys gas by selling mussels, learns to cook grits, all while letting on her Pa is around to anyone who notices she’s alone. In a one-time sober streak, her Pa taught her how to fish and noticed that she had started collecting items from the Marsh. Kya begins to draw her findings, from feathers to shells to fallen nests. Once Pa has left for good, Kya comes across another boat with a boy a little older than her, and he begins leaving her unusual feathers on a stump, so she’ll talk lo him. It is the beginning of an amazing friendship – Tate teaches her lo read, and Kya teaches him about the Marsh. By the time Tate leaves for college, Kya is now a teenager and alone once again, but this time she was lonely. She meets another boy from town with a speed boat and develops a relationship, which she believes is more than it is. But to Chase she will always be “The Marsh Girl” and Kya is his new conquest. Kya learns about males and females by studying the nature of animals and is not emotionally prepared for someone like Chase. Tate objects to Kya’s new relationship, but before she dismisses him, Tate suggests that he take some of her collections and drawings to college with him. Tate believes she could publish a beautiful book. Soon after, Chase becomes engaged to another girl in town. Kya retreats to her Marsh world, until Chase winds up dead, decaying in the Swamp and she is accused of his murder!
The evidence and trial are a combination of life outside of the Marsh, unreliable eyewitnesses, theories, isolation, and town guilt. Ultimately, Kya gains support from various people in her life which comes at a time she needs it most.
A page turner until the end and this book stayed with me for days when I was done reading it!