Review: Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing written by Della Owens is an award winning novel that was published on August 14, 2018.

“Where the Crawdads Sing” written by Della Owens is an award winning novel that was published on August 14, 2018.

Jack Embery, Editor-in-Chief

“Where the Crawdads Sing” is a novel written in 2018 featuring a fascinating murder mystery while developing a coming-of-age story of the main character, Kya. The book won a Best Seller Award in Japan and is on the New York Times Bestseller List, and also won a British Book Award. 

Delia Owens writes the book with an flashback plot structure, transitioning between modern time, where a trial is held to deem if Kya is guilty or innocent on the grounds of murdering the town’s popular football star, Chase Andrews. 

The flashback plot structure allows for the initial character development of Kya while allowing the trial to progress simultaneously. The development of Kya’s character connects the reader emotionally, making the prosecution even more stimulating as the anticipation of determining if Kya is guilty is impeding. 

During the book’s initial chapters, Kya’s story foreshadows her abandonment and lack of trust and feelings of becoming a town outcast simply based on her parent’s poor socioeconomic class. These tense emotions create an overwhelming sensation of isolation since she lives in the marsh alone. Eventually, her father’s struggle with alcoholism and the abuse he directs towards his children and spouse creates a divide within the family, ultimately forcing her siblings and mother to abandon her, decreasing her self-worth and increasing her trauma-based feelings of abandonment. 

Her father finally follows suit and abandons the complex character, like the rest of the world has done. She then becomes a self-sufficient semi-adult living in the marsh alone, even though she is still a young child.  

More characters are introduced, which make Kya experience feelings she has never felt before, overcome by love, desire and lust; however, she has to overcome her abandonment trauma to allow herself to succumb to these emotions. 

For being a somewhat simple read, Owens tackled complex issues within society during that time. She alludes to social racism, prejudice towards the poor and lack of education based on people’s background. 

“Where the Crawdads Sing” shares Kya’s life from abuse, abandonment and early love; to the development of her gaining education through a local boy’s help; and, eventually, the success of her books on marsh’s biological life, which brings her financial success and independence. It even goes as far as sharing her passing away. This complete, well-founded story on Kya allows the reader to connect to the character and helps build a sense of empathy toward Kya’s struggles.  

With no spoilers being told, Owen allows for the reader’s desires to be fulfilled, with the ending creating a sense of happiness and release of emotional tension. This book can easily be recommended to a broad demographic audience. For those who prefer to watch a story versus read it, the movie “Where the Crawdads Sing” directly follows the book’s plot with minimal structural changes.