Not everything has to be realistic, something is pure magic. And Crawdads is a magical read, slow like water in marsh canals. Gentle yet powerful, beautifully penned, original, heartwarming, empowering… The story unravels slowly, like Southern old-fashioned courting, jumping from the past to the present.
A little girl is left alone in the marsh without any means of providing for herself. Kya Clark is a free spirit, nature’s child who allows the wind, tides, and animals to teach her the most important life lessons. She knows how to watch, listen, and learn, the basic requirements that often can’t be thought at school. Kya finds a way to secure not only food but other basic necessities as well. Of course, the villagers despise the ʻmarsh girlʼ. Her only friend is Jumpin’, owner of a little store between the village and the marsh where Kya lives, an outcast just like her since he is a black man in the South in the 60s.
Kya’s coming of age story is lyrical and beautiful, although hard and lonely. As a young girl whose only companions are gulls, Kya can manage perfectly on her own. But her body, heart, and soul yearn for a mate. And her beauty will attract a couple of boys from the village. Yet, this isn’t an ordinary story about recognizing which guy is wrong and which is the one. Crawdads has much more depth. The scenes where the main characters get to know each other and fall in love are very tender and make you wish to be a teen again in the old days when feelings developed more gradually than today.
When one of those young men is murdered, Kya becomes the chief suspect. As an outcast, she would be suspicious even if nobody saw her in his company. Biases sometimes incriminate more than real evidence…
His dad had told him many times that the definition of a real man is one who cries without shame, reads poetry with his heart, feels opera in his soul, and does what’s necessary to defend a woman.
It didn’t fit that anyone who liked birds would be mean.
I wasn’t aware that words could hold so much. I didn’t know a sentence could be so full.
Biology sees right and wrong as the same color in a different light.
Life had made her an expert at mashing feelings into a storable size.
If anyone understood loneliness, the moon would.
Nature seemed the only stone that would not slip midstream.
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction, Romance
Describe this book with one word: Empowering
The perfect beverage to sip while reading this book: Southern Hospitality Float
This book’s best musical buddy: Deep Summer in the Deep South by Rumer
Awards: Edgar Award Nominee for Best First Novel by an American Author (2019), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Historical Fiction (2018)