OutreachNC’s 2019 Book Club: Where the Crawdads Sing

This month we’re all abuzz with love for Delia Owens’ Where the Crawdads Sing. Published just a year ago, in August of 2018, Owens’ novel has topped must-read lists across the nation including Reese Witherspoon’s very own book club. The New York Times calls Owens’ debut novel “painfully beautiful,” and People magazine describes Where the Crawdads Sing as “fierce and hauntingly beautiful.” Our staff enjoyed the book so much, our very own Kate Pomplun agreed to provide this month’s

10 Thoughts on Where the Crawdads Sing

This book should come with a warning: you will get nothing done until you’ve finished it. Cancel your bridge game; tell your kids it’s pizza for supper. Seriously, you won’t want to put it down. 

The author, Delia Owens is actually a wildlife scientist and has written nonfiction books about her work. Although her wildlife expertise from which her descriptions come is apparent, it reads like a novel written by someone who has been writing them for years. 

The way Owens brings the reader into nature and the North Carolina marsh setting will have you packing your bags and longing to head to the coast. 

Crawdads, also known as crayfish, are actually the fresh water version of lobster…somehow, Jeeves doesn’t think they sound as appealing. 

The detailed descriptions of birds, their behaviors and their various feathers had Jeeves licking his chops, but is intrinsically woven into the plot of the story so well that even non-bird-lovers can appreciate the importance.

In an interview with Owens, she recounts that growing up, her mother encouraged her to be out in nature. In fact, she quotes her mother saying, “Go way out yonder where the crawdads sing.” 

Subthemes of the parallels of the animal world and human instinct, especially without a flock or pack, are woven creatively into the murder-mystery plot, enriching it to another level. 

As if her writing wasn’t rich enough in content, suspense and descriptions, Owens also creatively weaves poetry of stars such as Edward Lear and James Wright as Kya, the protagonist, learns to read as a young adult. 

Yes, there is a movie being made – it will be produced by Reese Witherspoon, who has long been one of the book’s biggest champions, promoting it to fans of her book club recommendations. We’re thinking this will be an office thing… ending in cocktails. 

If Jeeves had thumbs, he’d give this one two thumbs up. You’ll be telling all of your friends to read it. 

That’s it for us this month. We’re looking forward to some adventure and time outdoors in July, when we’ll be reading A River Runs Through It and Other Stories, Norman Maclean’s much-praised collection of short stories. 

We love sharing books with everyone and anyone who’s got a review, comment, thought, critique or favorite quote to send along. Feel free to write to us at editor@outreachnc.com and let us know your thoughts on Owens’ debut novel and bound-to-be classic.