About The Book
For years, rumors of the ‘Marsh Girl’ have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.
Where The Crawdads Sing is described as a crime novel but I feel that the crime committed is only a small part of this novel. Instead it is tale of Kya’s relationship with nature as she goes from childhood into adulthood. And it shows she is also the victim of another type of crime. That of neglect and ignorance.
I struggle to understand why such a young child is left to fend for herself after all of her family abandon her. Her father is there for a little longer but doesn’t really do much to help. Instead she turns to her adoptive family Jumpin’ and Mabel who try their best to be there for her whilst also keeping their distance. It is her will and resolve to cope without her family that forms the basis for part one.
Initially I found it quite a slow book to read and at times I struggled to read it. Not because I didn’t like it, more that it was so different, very descriptive and at times I struggled with the local dialect. There were brief chapters that mentioned the investigation into the suspicious death but they didn’t really register. Instead I slowly became captivated by marsh life and Kya’s determination. Her friendship with Tate opened a new world to her and definitely made life a lot easier for her as she got older.
In part two the pace changes a lot and the investigation and subsequent trial takes over to some degree. You get to see more of the despicable behaviour of the more affluent and white townspeople. The attitude towards Kya and prejudice made me cringe. But there was also more evidence of those who had silently supported Kya in the background over the years.
This is a special novel, so different to everything else I have read and I expect it to be a long time before I read anything like it again. I’m sure the film will be just as wonderful.