Happy World Book Day
I’ve noticed that modern life can be a daily challenge. It sometimes feels like you’re walking on shifting sand. If there is one skill we need these days I think it is resilience. It’s a skill we can develop but I believe at our core, we have the ability to survive anything. We just need to get out of our own head sometimes.
That’s why I love this month’s book club selection. It is a story of survival when the unthinkable happens. The book is called Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.
The story follows the life of Catherine “Kya” Clark from age 6 in the marshland of North Carolina. At the age of 6, Kya’s mother leaves. Then one by one all her older brothers and sisters leave. Kya is left alone with her father, who is a alcoholic disabled war vet.
It’s not long after that even her father leaves her and she must find a way to survive alone in the marshlands. Imagine your 8 or 9 year old alone in a shack in the marshlands of North Carolina with no money.
The story goes back and forth from the 1950’s where Kya is a child alone in the marsh to 1969, where we learn of the murder of the town’s football star. The 2 storylines weave their way towards each other setting up the final conflict and resolution. This was one story that kept me guessing until the very end.
The author spends a lot of time describing the marshland. In the prologue of the book, she says the difference between a swamp and a marsh is that a swamp is death and a marshland is teaming with life. I loved all the beautiful descriptions of life in the marshland through Kya’s eyes and her poetry. You become intertwined with the flora and fauna of the marsh and all it’s rhythms and beauty.
Kya learns the lessons of love from the insects and animals she observes everyday. Kya’s teachers are not limited to the marsh. She befriends a boy who teaches her to read and write.
After the two storylines merge, the author uses some very beautiful poetry to express life alone in the marshland. The poetry paints a picture of both the beauty and the loneliness of the North Carolina coastland. The art of poetry – it’s of creativity, I believe is the fuel for Kya’s survival. Kya uses the poetry and painting to find a space within herself where she can survive loneliness and abandonment.
You came again,
blinding my eyes
like the shimmer of sun upon the sea.
Just as I feel free
the moon casts your face upon the sill.
Each time I forget you
your eyes haunt my heart and it falls still.
And so farewell
until the next time you come,
until at last I do not see you.
This is a story of a young woman coming of age, Kya time and again survives and thrives despite extreme loneliness and no help. The theme of love then abandonment seem to echo through Kya’s life. The only thing that seems constant is her loneliness and her survival despite it all.
The book made me think a lot about loneliness and how in one way or another we all experience it. Kya found ways to survive with her seagulls, the marshland, poetry and painting, and a little help from a couple in town.
She showed unimaginable resilience and I marvel at why we don’t trust that core of resilience, we all have inside us.
You will enjoy this story. It is one of those books that takes you to another place and on the last sentence you take a deep breathe and wish you didn’t have to leave.
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