Monday, July 11, 2022

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is a well written and interesting novel that's a surprise mega-success. Its got over 12 million copies sold as of January 2022 and came out in the summer of 2018 to little advance acclaim, written by a first-time novelist. Owens is a retired wildlife biologist in her 70s, with her previous works nonfiction accounts of the decades she spent in Botswana and Zambia.

The book is set in the marshes of North Carolina between 1952 and 1969 and covers the story of a girl born exceedingly poor, living apart from society in a shack outside of town and forced to live on her own after first her mother, then siblings, and eventually father exit her life, leaving her to fend for herself from the age of ten. Her life and fleeting interactions with other people is chronicled by Owens and it's an engrossing story, blending together family trauma, natural history, romance, and mystery, and has been made into a movie executive produced by Reese Witherspoon.

The book has so many elements I love, it's good writing from Owens, about someone with a life completely different than I'm familiar with as she's living on her own in a fringe society of people eking out a life in the swamps, with the natural world heavily featured, and written by someone who lived in Africa among animals and who wrote an unexpected bestseller. It's great stuff and I enjoyed it quite a bit.