Did you read Where The Crawdads Sing ? Let's discuss it.

yoyobon_gw

I'd like to hear from those who've read Where The Crawdads Sing.

********SPOILER ALERT***********


Here's my take :


I loved 9/10 ths of the story but was disturbed by the author's ending.

It seems that her strength was in describing and relating to the biology of the marshes.....and her main character.

As soon as she tried to be a mystery/murder writer she fell through a crack.

Here's the thing that irks me: She takes us on this wonderful, well-written journey and then becomes a weak hack at the end.

Did someone else write the ending ?????

Regarding the murder......it is completely unbelievable that Kya would have ever bothered to go back and forth from Greenville just to kill Chase.

First of all she was terrified of seeing him again and did everything to avoid him after the attempted rape. So why would she agree ( if she did agree since the sloppy writer never tells us she planned to meet him ALONE in a tower) to meet him in a trapped space ? Just to tell him she hates him and take back her shell ? Nope not buying that.

But that's exactly what the author expects us to accept.

Very poor story line.

I would have rather had Tate be the murderer and get away with it....thus upholding the title which suggests that in the wild, unknown parts of nature things happen that we know nothing of....and many are violent, illogical and simply incredible.


WHAT DID YOU THINK ?

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Comments (21)
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skibby (zone 4 Vermont)

I think the author expects the reader to draw their own conclusion as to the murderer. I think it was Tate - that resolution works for me. I'm not much of a plot reader, particularly for a book like this, so this aspect of the book didn't have high importance for me. I was more in tune with the descriptive language and loved how learning to read changed Kya's life in important ways. Her writing and artistic ability was key to her success - both personal and professional. The perfect blend of rhythms and balance in the natural world. One more thing - my favorite character was Scupper (Tate's dad) and I loved it that he listened to Opera. I played Miliza Korjus while reading this book. Especially nice during the cemetery scene. I didn't know this music before, and I love it now. Those are my 2 cents - worth every penny. Thanks for starting this thread Yoyobon.

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socks

Thanks for starting this topic.

I liked the mystery aspect of this book because it was secondary to the story, and I’m not a fan of mysteries. It was just enough for me to enjoy.

As for her learning to read, I was able to find the book she used when learning at my public library. It was fun to glance through it.

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yoyobon_gw

Skibby, if you reread the last page ( 368 ) you will see that Kya is identified as the murderer when Tate opens her box and finds the shell necklace and imagines how she committed the murder. I didn't see any ambiguity at all.

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kathy_t

I bought this book, but have not read it yet. I'll return to this thread once I've read it.

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carolyn_ky

I had more than one suspect in mind, but I was neither surprised nor upset by the ending as it was one of my own ideas. Kya was used to figuring out and handling things by herself, and she had said to herself that she would never be safe from Chase because he would never let himself be beaten by a girl. He was the one who always won, got the girl, and got his own way; and she was the one with the marsh knowledge to wipe out all trace of what happened. I can't agree that she put herself in danger from him. The scene was set perfectly; she made herself appear vulnerable while opening the trap he would have to fall through. But she still had enough feeling for what had been between them to keep the shell that he evidently had enough feeling to keep wearing. I had not thought about her being the poet. I also loved the book.

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woodnymph2_gw

This is on my list to read as soon as I can get it from the library. I have heard so much commentary about it--- mostly favorable.

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yoyobon_gw

Woodnymph and Kathy.......the one thing I wished I'd done was keep a pad and pencil handy or post-it notes to notate pages and quotes I'd like to recall. I'll be interested in your take on the story.

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dedtired

May I join the conversation? This is my book club book this month and I just finished it. The person who suggested it said she found it life changing. I can hardly say that it had that impact on me. I found the book rather lightweight throughout. Coincidentally we discussed Educated last month and I found some similarities. The girl from the dysfunctional family, the violent father, the brother who helped rescue her, getting an education later in life.. I thought Educated was a far superior book.


I agree that the end was a cop out, so to speak. i Will be following your comments!

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yoyobon_gw

Regarding the murder......it is completely unbelievable that Kya would have bothered to go back and forth from Greenville to kill Chase.

First of all she was terrified of seeing him again and did everything to avoid him after the attempted rape. So why would she agree ( if she did agree since the sloppy writer never tells us she planned to meet him ALONE in a tower) to meet him in a trapped space ? Just to tell him she hates him and to take back her shell ? I couldn't believe that.

But that's exactly what the author expects us to accept.

Very poor story line.

I would have rather had Tate get away with the accidental homicide..thus supporting the title which suggests that in the wild unknown parts of nature things happen and many are violent, illogical and simply incredible.


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carolyn_ky

Yoyo, the last poem that was separate from the package of poems that Tate found began by saying it was easy to lure him. Chase must have been quite full of himself to think she just couldn't stay away from him, but she had the trap door open between the two of them. He had to fall through it before he could reach her. I don't have a problem with the ending, except that I would have enjoyed reading more about her happy married life.

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carolyn_ky

I'm afraid to edit in case it eats my post, but I meant to say the town tried its best to convict her even with her seemingly perfect alibi. Of course, she knew how most of them felt about her (and about hero Chase) and that she must have an unassailable one.

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Rosefolly

I think the ending was clearly foreshadowed. In her nature study, she repeatedly noted with fascination insects and other animals where females lured, tricked, or killed males to maintain control over their own reproduction. I actually thought that was the cleverest part of the book.

Otherwise it did not stand up to Educated. Perhaps it was unfortunate that I read the two so close together in time. For me it was an interesting read, but not a book I'm likely to read again.

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yoyobon_gw

Rosefolly...... I agree that her understanding and relationship with nature were all she knew for sure about life. She accepted the unpredictable ways of the wild marshes as her only reliable view of how things were. Certainly the people in her small life didn't show her any stability or trustworthiness.

It is interesting to note that this was Celia Owens first novel ( no surprise ) and that she is more noted as a published biologist. Her strength was apparent in the beautiful, lyrical descriptions of nature . Her weakness was evident in her attempt at being a murder mystery writer.

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dedtired

Rosefolly, that is a good point about female insects eating their mate. I believe she gave a vivid description of a praying mantis biting off the head of her mate.


Owens did seem to enjoy writing descriptions of Kya’s world in the marsh than her interactions with other people. I thought that part of her writing relied a lot on stereotypes.

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friedag

I finished Crawdads after abandoning it a couple of times. It's not the worst novel I have read through, but it's certainly not one of the better ones either. It seems overhyped to me, but it's probably on par with most "book club darlings" (thanks to Sheri for the best descriptive name of popular choices for book club readers).


I wasn't far into the story when I realized that I would have to lower my expectations several notches. It is largely implausible. When seven-year-old Kya decided to take her father's skiff to explore the waterways (in his absence). she managed to pull the starter rope of the motor and it fired up the first time. I read that part to my brother (born in 1943) and he hooted derisively: Fat chance in 1952. It takes strength even with today's easier-to-operate motors for a teenaged boy or a grown man or woman to pull a starter because the PSI has to match that of the compression in the engine. Okay, I thought I would just let that unlikely situation slide right on by. Owens was trying to set a scene rather than being technically correct. I would just read the rest of the story as a fantasy.


I also got sidetracked with Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac (first published in 1949) and I decided to reread it. That book is much more to my liking.


I agree with Yoyobon that the crime was not much of a mystery. I wasn't bothered by it, however, because by that time I had given up any expectation of surprise. The courtroom drama was inane. Most of the characters are stereotypes (as Dedtired said). I suppose it's one of those wishful-thinking 'don't mess with wunderkind females' stories so trendy nowadays.


Oh well.

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woodnymph2_gw

Rosefolly, since you mentioned liking "Educated", I think you also might like the memoir, "Heartland" by Sarah Smarsh. I found it even better than Tara Westover's work, yet similar in theme.

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kathy_t

I enjoyed reading this book - particularly the parts about Kya's relationship with nature. As for the murder, I agree with Yoyobon that the idea of Kya riding the night busses in disguise was extremely far-fetched. And yet I felt certain she was the murderer. In fact, after reading this passage about fireflies on page 142-143 (the foreshadowing Rosefolly mentioned), I figured Kya would be murdering a man later in the book, and that she would feel justified in doing so.

Suddenly Kya sat up and paid attention: one of the females had changed her code … the second male was convinced he'd found a willing female … But suddenly the female firefly reached up, grabbed him with her mouth, and ate him …

Kya knew judgment had no place here. Evil was not in play, just life pulsing on, even at the expense of some of the players. Biology sees right and wrong as the same color in different light.

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friedag

Thank you, Kathy, for pinpointing the passage about the female firefly 'changing her code' then eating the second male. That is very vivid nature writing indeed.

Do any of you think that the structure of the novel -- beginning with the prologue when Chase's body was discovered in 1969 before the focus of the story moved to Kya, starting in 1952 when her mother left -- was a tip-off in itself . . . that it was going to be all about Kya and her justifications (in her mind) for killing Chase? I think the alternating chapters dispelled rather than enhanced any mystery there might have been. It could be attributed to Owens being a first-time novelist, as Yoyobon observed. The premise had more potential than Owens knew how to handle, it seems to me.

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woodnymph2_gw

I've just checked this out and will report back when I've finished it.

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woodnymph2_gw

I finished it in the wee hours of the morning. At first I did not think I would like it. It was very slow paced for me in the beginning. After a time it seemed to pick up the pace and by the end I was hooked by all the plot twists and turns.

Like some of you, I found it improbable that Kya would be able to ride the bus back from Greenville within that time frame and carry out the murder so perfectly under cover of darkness until the moon appeared, etc.

I did like the foreshadowing the author indulged in, regarding the female insects devouring the males, and the "laws of nature" as theme.

I see why she added on the poems, but I found it improbable that she could escape recognition as a published poet for so long a time. As for the poetry itself ---- meh....

Westover's "Educated" was very similar in theme. I think I liked "Crawdads" better, just because of the descriptions of the natural world. And I am very familiar with that landscape of coastal Carolina.

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lulu bella

I really enjoyed the book which I read a few months back so I am not 100% clear but I did think the reveal was really good. I did find parts of it kind of hard to believe, but I guess I suspended my gut logic and such to go with the story.

I did see some similarities with Educated as well.

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