Where the Crawdads Sing Book Review: The Trials and Triumphs of a Life Lived on One’s Own Terms

where the crawdads sing delia owens books bordeaux

If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to fall in love with a swamp (!) Delia Owens breaks it down and convinces you to fall in love, as well.

Marsh is a space of light, where grass grows in water, and water flows into the sky. Slow-moving creeks wander, carrying the orb of the sun with them to the sea, and long-legged birds lift with unexpected grace—as though not built to fly—against the roar of a thousand snow geese.

Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing is a great book-club book because it explores several themes and is a bit divisive in terms of taste—both of which make the discussion richer! As an added bonus, Delia Owens’ website has an entire Book Club Kit which includes a discussion guide, an interview with Delia Owens, and Kya’s cookbook. Anytime I read a book that interests me, I go online to find more information, so I really appreciate that Owens took the extra step to create these resources. For our book club, I added some questions to address topics about the book and the author that we wanted to discuss. Our discussion for Crawdads was so fun and engaging. We may have spent half the time trying to determine if Owens intended to write about a murder in isolation—when she witnessed a real-life murder in isolation in Africa many years earlier.

Jump to Where the Crawdads Sing discussion questions

Consensus from our group re Crawdads is that some elements were successful and some were unsuccessful. Owens clearly loves nature, and we all appreciated that she could describe nature so beautifully. Owens was successful in another way, too: Kya’s story prompts the reader to ask big questions. For example, questions about the interactions of economic disparities and race, the trade-offs between living on your own terms and living in dangerous isolation, the merits of formal education versus an education through experience with the natural world, and how the pursuit of a higher understanding of our world can results in a higher understanding of ourselves.

Wine Selection & Tasting Notes

Lone Orchid Riesling. Scent: Starfruit, pineapple, green apple. The note of green apple continues on the palate, and sweetness and tang is reminiscent of a green apple jolly rancher–in a fun way!

Review cont.

Kya’s inner narration references the natural world again and again to explain her relationships and work through her problems. For anyone who has ever taken a moment to appreciate the quiet calm that the natural world can bring to the noise of competing worries inside your mind, you will absolutely love how Owens describes Kya’s experience with nature.

As she pushed off, she knew no one would ever see this sandbar again. The elements had created a brief and shifting smile of sand, angled just so. The next tide, the next current would design another sandbar, and another, but never this one. Not the one who caught her. The one who told her a thing or two.

An unsuccessful element of Crawdads is the amount of telling versus showing that occurs with increasing frequency the further along you get in the novel. Our group also felt that the pacing dragged in the middle. But one of my biggest issues with the story is with the main mystery…

Any plot or style contentions aside, the ethereal descriptions of nature and Kya’s connection to the land are undeniably beautiful, and they permeate the novel. Crawdads is primarily this: a depiction of life lived on one’s own terms. And in that way, it is very well done.

She strolled like a sleepwalker as the moon pulled herself naked from the waters and climbed limb by limb through the oaks. The slick mud of the lagoon shore glowed in the intense light, and hundreds of fireflies dotted the woods. Wearing a secondhand white dress with a flowing skirt and waving her arms slowly about, Kya waltzed to the music of katydids and leopard frogs.

Where the Crawdads Sing Discussion Questions

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