As a prolific reader, I tend to read the top picks every year. Each year, I find one book that I would rate as my top pick. The best of the bunch. One that needs to be read, by everyone. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is already my pick for 2019. Maybe I will read something that I think is better, but I highly doubt it, it is just that good.
Where the Crawdads Sing tells the story of Kya, a girl who grows up in the marshes of North Carolina. Her story is one of true heartbreak and tragedy. She lives alone in the marsh with little contact with the outside world. She is a truly kind and intelligent soul, who has had more disappointment in her life than any one person should ever have.
Without giving spoilers, I will explain why I have such a high opinion of the this book. First, the story itself. The author is able to write an incredibly heart breaking story with such beauty. Her writing is lyrical, her descriptions make the reader feel like they have been transported to the marsh that Kya lives in. You will feel her pain. Make no mistake about it, her pain visceral and the reader will feel it with her. I knew when I started this book, it was going to be a heartbreaker. In fact, I had reserved it 3 times at my library, read the first page and then returned it. I was afraid to feel such sadness, but in the end I am glad I read it.
Second, all of the characters are integral to the story. Like the story itself, the author has created characters with so much description, you feel like you know each of them individually. Some you love and some you hate. But all are necessary to the story itself.
Third, the focus of the natural world in Kya’s life. You will be able to feel like you are sitting in the marsh with Kya. The descriptions of the tides, the birds flying, even the shells she finds on the beach are described with such intense detail. It is clear that the author’s first profession was as a naturalist. She has a way of describing everything with such beauty.
Fourth, the ending is truly satisfying after a heartbreaking journey through Kya’s life. Expect to cry a little, but also expect to feel relief at the end. Her journey is long and full of disappointment, but she finishes that journey with less loneliness and true happiness. This is truly a beautiful read.