Where the Crawdads Sings by Delia Owens: A Review

After almost one month, I finally managed to finish my current read, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owensa book I read for the longest so far this year. Before I begin, please remember that historical fiction is not my usual go-to genre to begin with, and the fact that I had so much going on didn’t help either, so it took me far longer than necessary to finish this 300+ pages book.

Where the Crawdads Sing follows the story of Kya Clark who is widely known as the Marsh Girl in the haunted Barkley Cove. The story goes back and forth from 1969 where the popular Chase Andrews is found dead with Kya as the suspect to how her childhood has formed her into becoming who she is right now.

Living in the marsh alone, Kya had to work hard to survive all by herself after being left by her family. Contrary to what the townspeople say about her though, Kya is a born naturalist. She took life lessons from the land, her friends were the gulls, and she mastered the skill to live in solitude forever. However, her striking feature eventually drew in two young men from town until one of them is dead and her reputation makes her the top suspect.

I think it’s safe to say that Where the Crawdads Sing is a coming-of-age story with a bit of historical fiction and mystery combined. While the synopsis did intrigue me a lot, I must say that the book as a whole didn’t actually charm me the way that I had thought it would. Here are my reasons:

My first problemthe first 50% was a huge struggle. I kept going merely because some friends said it was worth the effort. Convinced by the endorsement, I believed that the story would become more interesting at some point, or perhaps even better, the ending would end up boosting my fondness for this book. Tough luck, the thought of DNFing this book still popped out not only once but a few times despite the encouragement. Going through the first part was extremely hard because how slow the plot flowed was beyond me.

My second problemthe ending. With not so many characters, it was pretty easy to foresee who the ‘bad guy’ actually was. To be fair though, I wasn’t always so certain about it, but the prediction was there in the back of my mind the entire time. For me who had expected a slightly more mind-blowing ending, it was admittedly quite a letdown. Go on, you have my expectation to be blamed.

All qualm aside, I did appreciate how beautiful the writing style was. And Owens managed to make me genuinely root for Kya’s happiness the whole time. She had been through a lot, thereby all I ever wanted from this book was for her to be happy. Adding it to the list of things I loved about it, the last 50% was quite a page-turner too, and I was relieved to see how severely tense and great the court scenes were.

"She laughed for his sake, something she’d never done.
Giving away another piece of herself just to have someone else."

Overall, Where the Crawdads Sing was an okay read for me. The characters had some distinct developments throughout the story and I did enjoy the second part quite much though I don’t think I will want to reread this book in the future. I know, I know, my opinion can be considered unpopular, therefore if you love to read a murder mystery with a touch of historical fiction, I reckon this book may be for you.

Actual rating: 2.8