In Where the Crawdads Sing , Delia Owens has woven together a heartbreaking coming-of-age story and a disturbing crime plot. The piece is centered on Kya Clark, a young girl growing up in a North Carolina marsh. The reader watches as her mother leaves- starting a domino effect- and leading to all her siblings and eventually her father leaving. She offers a unique perspective into the realities of isolation and the developmental delays it can pose.
The first plot discusses the joys and frustrations we all experienced in adolescence. However, it also incorporates tales from a hidden world from the eyes of an expert. Growing up in the marsh, the main character shares her knowledge through subtle recollections.and statements regarding her surroundings, while incorporating tales of growing up in a small southern town. Thus introducing the reader to a place that is filled with a peaceful essence without losing that sense of reality.
She speaks of how she avoided going to school for so many years and the difficulties of making friends, finding someone to trust and being afraid of letting them in. She faces the difficulties only an ancient place would bring, but also the harsh realities of a rapidly changing time in history. Kya shows her adaptability and wit alongside her pain and dwindling hope. Owens created someone who may not be the most relatable in some instances, but someone who is growing up the way we all have-with confusion and excitement.
The second plot snatches the reader out of this heartfelt memoir into a convoluted tale of prejudice and grief. A murder investigation slowly unfolds, bringing bitter feelings to a boil. She becomes even more of an outcast as suspicions of sinister activities come to light, jutting her extremely private life into stark daylight. With no real sense of the world outside the marsh and barely any human contacts, her differences are broadcasted for all to see. The small town setting allows this blatant disregard of humanity, but the era it is set in brings in more open-minded perspectives, adding an element of opposition. People are torn between believing years of ghost stories regarding the elusive Marsh Girl, but are forced to realize the pain and fear behind her impious actions.
This blend of genres allots for appeal to a broader audience. Crime novel gobblers and historical fiction enthusiasts alike can devour this piece. Suspense intertwines with amity as we watch her story unfold in a cruel and artistic way.