Hope you’re well and you’ve had a fantastic October so far! It’s honestly my favourite time of year. Jumpers (Sweaters) are back on, practically every outfit is comfy and cosy, the leaves in my neighbourhood are a plethora of colours and life has slowed down a little bit, making plenty more time for nice cups of tea and getting lost inside a good book.
So far this October, I’ve already read 3 books and I’m currently reading two, one fiction and one non fiction, which is also not something I do during other months of the year! I love coming home after a walk among rustling leaves, getting a candle on, snuggling up under a blanket and cuddling Scott and/or the cat whilst I read. It’s just a delight.
One book I’ve read in the past few weeks is one thats been on my TBR for such a long time and I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this! Recently the film adaptation has been released which we’ll also dive into below.
WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING, BY DELIA OWENS
First let me tell you that Delia Owens should be absolutely so proud of herself. This is her debut work of fiction and it sold over 10 million copies, became a bestseller and Reese Witherspoon loved it that much she made it into a film. I mean, author dream goals or what. The cover quoted The Times as saying ‘takes your breath away’, but that to me, is an absolute understatement.
Here’s the synopsis:
“For years, rumours of the ‘Marsh Girl’ have haunted Barkley Grove, a quiet town on the North Carolina Coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.”
We open the book and are given a map, which honestly I didn’t need to refer to for the story, the writing is so descriptive and beautifully crafted, but I’m a sucker for a book map so that excited me from the moment I turned the page. We begin the novel at Part 1, the prologue, set in 1969 where Chase Andrews is found dead in the marsh. The description of the marsh is so beautiful, poetic yet brutal.
“On the morning of October 30, 1969, the body of Chase Andrews lay in the swamp, which would have absorbed it silently, routinely. Hiding it for good. A swamp knows all about death, and doesn’t necessarily define it as a tragedy, certainly not a sin.”
We then go back in time to Kya’s childhood, 1952. I won’t delve too much into this part of the book as each reader’s connection to the tale will have a different impact, but my goodness, they should supply a box of Kleenex with every copy. I think it’s fair say that I cried my way through at least the first 100 pages of this read, and it’s less than 400 long. There are a lot of triggers in this book and I think the main ones in my mind to call out are domestic violence, alcohol abuse, child neglect, loneliness, family breakdowns, murder, sexual violence and abandonment.
Kya is discarded by everybody she loves and to whom she relies on for protection and rather than being admired for her strength and resilience, she is simply bullied and rejected by her peers and her community.
However, there’s some absolutely incredible characters that come to know her and love her. Jumpin’ and his wife Mabel carefully begin to care for Kya with their clever kindness and love, and Tate has an endless amount of selflessness and kindness.
I think for me thats what’s so interesting about the characters in this book, there’s a starkness and a very black and white contrast to how the characters react to Kya and how they interact with her. They either see a little girl needing love, care, attention and friendship, or they see a dirty wild creature who doesn’t deserve their time or respect.
It’s this contrast in kindness and behaviour that makes such a perfect setting for a murder trial.
CAN’T PUT IT DOWN RATING: 5/5
My heart physically hurt reading this, it was super painful. It’s one of those books where you want to reach inside the pages and hug the character, care for them, and heal their wounds.
It is a work of art. Owens has a way with words that had me hearing, seeing, feeling the marsh, looking at the water, seeing animals and birds I’ve never encountered in my life, looking at their feathers in my mind and admiring the beauty in Kya’s drawings. There is poetry included throughout which adds to the story and only strengthens the words on the page, the emotions etc.
I couldn’t help but fall in love with Kya, she’s a resilient, strong, intelligent kind soul that only deserves love, it’s painful to read the treatment of her by those who see her as feral.
There are obviously a lot of trigger warnings, so this may not be for everybody, but I think for most people this will be one of those standout books that lives in their heart for years to come.
“Go as far as you can – way out yonder where the crawdads sing”.
Last night I watched the film with my fiancé, and whilst I felt that they’d captured the characters and the scenery perfectly, I did feel that they skipped over some of the more tender, light moments in the book, and also some of the most painful. They were featured, but not with the same degree of depth that Owens has written. I felt the lack of poetry actually took away some of the beauty, and whilst I still found myself shedding tears, if youre trying to decide what to do first, book or film – go for book. You’ll be pleased you found out the story that way.
WASHED DOWN WITH
So this time of year calls for autumnal drinks and my absolute go to has to be Beanies coffee collection, I just love their cosy flavours and they’re accessible, £1.99 in Aldi. I’ve been drinking copious amounts of Toasted Marshmallow and Cinder Toffee Coffee and I cannot recommend them enough. If you want a low calorie cup of autumn – these are perfect! The flavours are full bodied, they take away sugar cravings and the smells and flavours are as described!
So that’s it for today. I hope you’ve found this review super helpful and enjoyable! if you have, give it a like, follow, comment or a share (or all if youre feeling generous ;))!
As always, you can find me on Facebook, Instagram and Goodreads under the handle @PapyrusandPeppermint and I would love to hear from you, and your thoughts so please do get in touch!
Until the next Chapter,