Review of Where the Crawdads Sing (Major Spoilers)

by Morgan Collins

Truthfully, I started out reading Where the Crawdads Sing for my English class thinking it would be just another generic coming of age story. However, it did not take me more than ten pages to find out that this novel was something more complex than I had ever imagined. In the novel Where the Crawdads Sing, the story follows a young girl named Kya who has been abandoned by her family and exiled from her community. She learned to live off the land and find her own means of survival. The marsh on which she lived nurtured her and mothered her until she became a part of her domain. To earn money to survive she sold muscles to a freed slave named Jumpin’ and his family. In her early teenage years she met a boy named Tate who also lived in the marsh. He won her trust by laying feathers on a stump for her. He later taught her how to read and function in a society that was against her. When Kya grew older and he left for college he stopped visiting, leaving her yet again alone with the marsh. Years later, she met another boy named Chase, but this time he was from town. He used Kya with the idea that he would bring her to his world and Kya gave him a shell necklace showing her love for him. When Kya saw that he was being disloyal she tried to get away but he abused her and then left her yet again in the marsh. Years later Chase’s body was found dead in the swamp and Kya was the main suspect. Although they had no evidence against her, they threw her in jail and a year later she stood trial. Due to the lack of evidence, she was set free and able to live her life on the marsh with Tate. She authored books displaying her knowledge for the marsh and the creatures who resided there. Kya lived for 60 more years before she died in the marsh just as she had lived. When Tate was going through her things he found a poem called “Fireflies” that admitted to the murder the Chase all those years ago. The theme of this novel is survival trumps love and human relationships. With Chase, Kya felt trapped like prey. From living on the marsh she watched fireflies and mantis kill their mates if they felt threatened. From this being her only teachings her entire life, she felt that was what she needed to do in order to survive. This novel teaches readers that without the influence of parents in a child’s life, they grow up without the key lessons needed in the real world. I would recommend this book to a friend because it captures a key lesson of following nature in order to survive.