Saturday, February 20, 2021

Reading | Where The Crawdads Sing

Where The Crawdads Sing | Delia Owens 

Meet Kya, a little girl in the marsh lands of North Carolina, who grows up among the birds and fish, shells and flowers of this wild place. Agonize as her life fills with hardships and suffering, exhale with relief as she finds peace and purpose; feel the wind in your face as she maneuvers her little rowboat through the winding waterways, and let your heart sing as she finds a few trustworthy friends. Marvel as Kya's life unfolds, full of surprises both good and bad, and wonder whodunit as a mysterious murder threatens to disturb Kya's future. 

If you enjoy a lush narrative told with exquisite language and precise attention to detail; if you adore richly imagined characters who walk the lovely line between realistic and fantastical; if you relish a crazy plot twist or two, and an ending that leaves you breathless; then this is a book for you. 

* * * * *

I grew up in the great hardwood forest of Michigan and spent my childhood roaming among the trees, using acorns, twigs, leaves, and bark as playthings, soaking up the woods with all my senses. At home, my family life was often painful and confusing, but when I was nibbling wild strawberries found growing in the warm sun, or organizing a imaginary log cabin laid out with branches under the trees, all that chaos fell away and my world was safe and secure. 

In this way, I feel a great kinship to Kya, who loves her home in the saltwater marshes just as much as I did mine in the woods. I understand the solace that comes from escaping the world of people to explore and play in a place that feels so safe, so full of fascinating flora and fauna, so utterly magical.

And I also understand how adolescence changes this peaceful reverie, stirring up new energies, forcing us out of our quiet places and into the world of other people. Complicated things happen, and though my life protected me from the tragedies that fall to Kya, I can relate to her frustrations. Growing up is powerful and exhilarating and full of new possibilities, but sometimes it's painful to let go of the simple rhythms of a childhood spent in nature. 

I don't think it's necessary to identify with the main character of a story in order to enjoy the tale told, but in this case, I do. Kya is a sweet kindred spirit to me, and her story makes my heart sing. 

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