Life Lessons from Nature Plus a Wonderful Story
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Where the Crawdads Sing is the story of Kya, the so-called Marsh Girl. At a young age her siblings and mother abandon her leaving her with an abusive and alcoholic father who ultimately abandons her too. Thus, at the age of ten (10!) she is alone in the marsh to negotiate life. The broader community not only does NOT take her in, but scorns her. The natural world around her becomes her solace, best friend, and teacher.
Authors are told to write what they know and readers will be ASTOUNDED by all that Delia Owens knows about nature. Even if you do not like the story itself — which would be nearly impossible because it is so compelling — you’d have to love all you learn about nature. Owens is a wildlife scientist with a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology and a Ph.D. in Animal Behavior. As a child, she and her family spent every summer in North Carolina, which is the setting for this book. She knows it well and you will too after reading the book. Beyond that, it is palpable how much Owens/Kya loves the Carolina coastal marsh.
In the course of the book we see Kya’s entire lifetime. In it, she manages to have two romantic relationships. First she is with Tate, second with Chase. In both cases, the mating habits she sees in nature inform her understanding of how to proceed. Ultimately Chase dies. It could have been viewed as an accidental death, but no, instead, it is considered a murder and Kya is accused of the crime. The author keeps the reader guessing until the last pages as to what happened to Chase and ends the book in an extremely gratifying way. It’s been a long time since I so actively cheered for and prayed for a beloved character.
I give this book five stars out of five. I suggest you read it — and start rooting for Kya — today!
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