Review of ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ by Delia Owens

Oh dear. Another wildly popular book which I haven’t enjoyed (see: Normal People, Circe, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, The Doll Factory).

Set on the marshy North Carolina coast in the 1950s and 60s, the story follows Kya, a girl from a poor family who is left to fend for herself. She has an affinity for nature. Instead of going to school, trying to avoid the townspeople (most of whom are prejudiced against her as ‘trash’) she learns everything that can be known about the wildlife and ecology of the area. Interspersed with the descriptions of her growing up and finding love, there is a murder mystery, in which suspicion falls on Kya.

I did appreciate the minute details of wildlife observation as they are obviously written with love and there are some beautiful pieces of writing at times. It was certainly evocative of the landscape. I also liked the hint of To Kill A Mockingbird. However, the slow pacing was very off-putting and several chapters in, I was doubting my ability to finish the book. The beginning had me curious but the murder investigation occupies little space in the book as opposed to the meandering background story and the romance bits which used the word ‘groin’ several times (ugh). The poems were unappealing to me. Overall I didn’t hate every moment of it but I was rather underwhelmed, especially by the time I reached the end – which by the way is described as ‘surprising’ or a ‘twist’ by several critics on the praise pages inside the book, yet there was nothing I would call a twist.

In summary, this book did not captivate me and was more like ‘where the crawdads yawn’.

First published in 2018.

12 thoughts on “Review of ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ by Delia Owens”

  1. 😂 Your review made me laugh!! “Groin” 🤭 I’ve got this on kindle but have been in no rush to read it! If it’s a bit yawny, I’m guessing I’ll be leaving it for even longer 🥱 I salute your honesty 😉

    1. Well you might like it 🙂 I suppose there wasn’t enough edge to it for me, it seemed sanitised somehow, weird as it may sound as there themes such as abuse and racism. Ha ha I don’t think the word ‘groin’ should appear in anything that’s supposed to be romantic.

    1. I’m sure it was very well done and I can understand why some people really loved it (although not why it has been one of the most talked about books lately). The location was very vivid. Although reading what she learned from the textbooks was boring.

  2. Wow! Did we read the same book? This was probably my favorite book of the last 5 years or so. It was not a mystery novel, but there was a mystery within its pages. The twist was there at the end. Whether you anticipated the twist, or not, it was still a twist.
    They say that two people cannot read the same book…

    1. I guess you are right, now I think about it, there were 2 twists, they just didn’t make any impact on me obviously! I am more used to thrillers with their promises of massive twists. Ha ha, well I have seen a lot of love for this book so I’m in the minority there. In the end it wasn’t my kind of read.

  3. That’s the way it goes sometimes 🤷🏼‍♀️ I was the same with a raved about recent murder mystery. I finished it and quietly shelved on goodreads without saying a word on social media!

    1. Well there is no harm in trying it… I wasn’t convinced it was for me before I read it, but as it’s so popular I thought I’d see what the hype is about.

  4. I really appreciate your honest review. I have been wondering about this book for what seemed like ages and saw a number of people reading it in cafes on their own (for some reason or other). They seemed to be engrossed which added to my intrigue. I haven’t touched this book yet because I feared it would be over-hyped (as is so often the case) and reading your review I now realise it will not be for me, even if those lush descriptions of nature are tempting!

    1. There’s only one way to find out if you like the book… but yes it seems to be one of those which gather hype and then everyone thinks they ought to be reading it! I think that knowing a little of your reading taste, it will probably not be for you. It’s not a deep read at all and even seemed kind of cosy despite some of the issues involved.

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