"Sometimes she heard night-sounds she didn't know or jumped from lightening too close, but whenever she stumbled, it was the land who caught her. Until at last, at some unclaimed moment, the heart-pain seeped away like water into sand. Still there, but deep. Kya laid her hand upon the breathing, wet earth, and the marsh became her mother."
Set in 1969 in the quiet town of Barkley Cove, North Carolina, Where the Crawdads Sing is a coming of age story about a young girl who was abandoned by her family members and left to be raised by the land. Kya, also known by the locals as the Marsh Girl, is the youngest member of a family of 7. At the open of the novel, Kya's family members leave her one by one starting with her mother and ending with her alcoholic and abusive father. As a young girl left all alone, Kya learns to live of the land and to provide for herself. Her journey spans over many years and while shunned by many of the people of Barkley Cove, Kya forms relationships with only a select few who become very pivotal players in her story. Also woven among Kya's tale is the murder of Barkley Cove's beloved Chase Owens and the investigation that ensues.
I have very mixed feelings about this book, so I'm breaking my thoughts up into the good and the bad.
The good. If only speaking in terms of enjoyment, then I have to say that I adored this book. While sad and heartbreaking, Kya's tale was very intriguing to me and I loved the author's beautiful descriptions of the marsh and its inhabitants. It many times read like poetry and I could most definitely pick it up again and reread it just to savor the words.
The bad. I really think that the author did such a great job with the descriptions of the marsh which really makes me wonder why she didn't do a little more research into the geography of North Carolina. The novel is set on the east coast of North Carolina and the author frequently talks about the characters making a trip over to Asheville like it's the next big town over. In actuality, Asheville is on the other side of the state and probably more like 7-8 hours away. I was able to suspend reality enough to still enjoy the novel, but it just seems like a little more care could have been given to getting to know the area. Granted, I have lived in North Carolina for about 12 years, so this may bother me more than others.
All in all, I think this is definitely a book worth reading and would recommend it for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Pat Conroy.
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