I had promised myself this year that I would read more books that I had on my bookshelves, and this was one that sat a little longer than I would have liked. But I’m so glad that I read it. Here’s my review:
Kya’s family is poor. They live out in the marsh which the townspeople look down upon. In the marsh isn’t easy, you need to save money where you can, grow your own food, hunt, and fish, and shop in the bargain bins. But when you have as many children as the Clark family, money gets spread thin. It’s not a life that appeals to many and for some, they want to find a way out.
One by one Kya watches her family up and leave the hard living in the marsh and she is forced to fend for herself. With little education and the inability to read, learning is slow going. But she does learn how to feed herself from the abundance of the marsh and with the help of people around her. But living alone in a shack is indeed a lonely life. There are a few friends around that care for Kya, but more often than not, her life is a solitary existence.
We follow Kya as she does learn to navigate life and love, the heartache that comes with it and the changes she goes through with each lesson in life. My heart broke for Kya at the reaction of the townspeople, the way they treated her from the children to the adults. And I think that the prejudice she experienced is typical of life today, and it’s not a way a person should have to go through life.
The writing was so well done, it was incredibly descriptive, an imaginative and detailed world for Kya, and Owens put you right in the marsh with her. I think that even though it isn’t labeled as such, this book starts out with a YA tone, because of the way it follows Kya through her young age. But as we watch her change into an adult, that tone gets dropped. There’s also a hint of a mystery aspect later on in the book, which I won’t go into detail about to avoid spoilers. But Where the Crawdads Sing has a variety of genre elements that I think appeals to a lot of readers. A very good read.