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WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING
GP Putnam’s Sons
August 14, 2018
Since everyone and her mother has already read this book, I’m going to do a brief synopsis and go straight into my thoughts on Where the Crawdads Sing.
Kya is abandoned by her mother and then all of her siblings when she’s very young. She stays with her dad in their dilapidated shack on the edge of a marsh in North Carolina for a while. Despite the fact that he’s a worthless drunk, she manages to survive, even when he’s gone for days at a time. But when he disappears for good, she has to learn how to survive now that she’s completely alone and living in total isolation.
I’ve had this book sitting on my shelf for about two years. I’ve picked it up so many times but could never really get into it. Finally I forced myself to sit down and just read the dang thing, and I did. Unfortunately, after hearing so much hype about this book, I can’t say that I enjoyed it. In fact, I thought it was an average story, maybe even below-average. The story is so over the top and tries WAY too hard to be meaningful. And it’s inconsistent—the first half of the book and the second half of the book seem like two completely different novels. How could I possibly believe that Kya goes from being dumdum swamp trash to being a gorgeous genius who teaches herself the Latin names to all the plants and animals in the marsh? I mean, really?
The trial was what really sealed the deal for me. It came out of nowhere and didn’t flow with the rest of the story at all. Maybe I’m just biased because I’m married to a lawyer and know a bit about how trials work, but I thought the whole process was written about in a clunky and unconvincing way.
It also didn’t help that the author decided to take an “everything but the kitchen sink” approach to ending the story by throwing every plot twist she could think of in there: murder, sexual assault, boyfriend problems, family reunification, a poetry reveal (barf), and an even bigger plot twist that I won’t spoil but made me grooooooaaaan. How did a book that started out so lyrical and thoughtful (albeit slow) lead to such a manic conclusion? Ugh, it was awful.
I know that everyone loves this book. I mean, like LOVE loves this book. I think Crawdads has over 500,000 reviews on Goodreads and still has five full stars overall. That’s bananas. All I can say is that I didn’t care for it, and there are so many better books out there.
Find this book at a used book store in the 50 cent bin where it belongs.