In 6 year old Kya’s experience, everyone leaves. Her siblings fled, leaving her with deeply troubled parents. Her abused mother walked away, stumbling a bit on the crocodile-skin heels she favored, swallowed by the shadows at the end of the lane outside their ramshackle cabin in a marsh situated along a North Carolina coast. Eventually even her drunken father abandoned her. Yet somehow, timid Kya survived in the wetland she loved, among the birds and the insects with whom she felt kinship. From the folk of the nearby town, she endures prejudice and experiences kindness. But when the one-time star football player is found dead, a murder investigation embroils Kya, the shy “Marsh Girl” in suspicion.
Delia Owens’ novel “Where the Crawdads Sing” provides a rich, almost tactile coming of age tale told as a mystery and a fantastic survival story. It touches on classism, racism, and sexism. Owens weaves biology lessons into the lush prose, tips in a sprinkling of poetry, and stirs it with a tear-jerking courtroom drama that leaves readers longing to see if Barkley Cove, NC is a real place. This beautiful, non-linear book is well worth reading.