First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.
For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl.
But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when years to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.
Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.
After five days of work, it is finally the weekend! Happy Friday everyone! Thankfully, here in the Philippines, we will be having a long weekend. October 31 has been declared a holiday while November 1 is a traditional holiday, in observation of All Saints’ Day. I will be spending this long weekend at home in the province; this entails a grueling 12-hour land trip from Manila. While I wanted to say that everyone enjoy the weekend, the thing is that the entire country is being ravaged by a typhoon (hurricane) Paeng. Here in my hometown, it has been raining nonstop since yesterday. In other parts of the country, the southwest monsoon exacerbated the typhoon. Unfortunately, landslides and casualties have been reported all over the country. Widespread flooding is also being experienced all over the country as well, including the national capital. I hope and pray for everyone’s safety during this calamitous time. I hope that everyone will stay safe from the typhoon. I also hope and pray that everyone is doing well, in body, mind, and spirit.
For the second week in a row, my First Impression Friday update is late because of the long trip yesterday and I attended a wedding today; I was part of the entourage. Nevertheless, I am still pushing through with this First Impression Friday (Saturday) update. American literature is one of the, if not the most extensive part of the literary world. It casts a wide net across different genres and has produced some of the world’s most renowned writers and titles. Of the vast ambit of literature, it is also American literature that I have explored the most. It also comes as no surprise that most of the books on my reading challenges are under this umbrella. Recently, I have realized that I have been lagging behind on my active reading lists. As such, I have been focusing on these books lest I will be again cramming toward the end of the year. Thankfully, there is still time to make up for lost time and I must say that I have covered quite a good ground.
Last week, I read my first novel by Richard Russo, Bridge of Sighs, which brought me to a fictional town in upstate New York. My current read, Delia Owens’ Where the Crawdads Sing, transported me down south, to North Carolina. North Carolina is a state I have become acquainted with through the romance novels of Nicholas Sparks and to see it through a different lens fills me with curiosity. This is my first novel by Owens and honestly, I was not originally planning on reading the book despite it being ubiquitous; I kept on encountering the book on my trips to the bookstore. I eventually relented because I was curious about what it has in store that it has such high ratings on Goodreads and that it has been warmly received by many a fellow book blogger. I was also not planning on reading the book this year but upon learning about the release of its movie adaptation, I knew I had to somehow insert it into my reading journey this year.
In the novel’s prologue, set in 1969, we learn about the death of Chase Andrews. The story then flashed back to 1952 when the six-year-old Kya (full name Catherine Danielle Clark) watched her mother abandon her family. Kya’s father was chronically abusive, particularly when he was drunk. Kya, deeply devastated by this sudden turn of events, kept waiting for her mother to return. The gods, however, refused to answer her hopes, and, instead, more tragedy ensued. One-by-one, her eldest siblings started leaving as well due to the same reasons, ultimately leaving the young Kya living alone with her father in their home situated in the midst of the coastal marshland. For a while, peace was restored as her father stopped drinking, even teaching his daughter how to fish and giving her books about birds to read. Although she was illiterate, Kya had a keen interest in the birds she encountered in the marshland. The peace soon proved to be temporary as her father went berserk after they received a letter from her estranged mother. This period culminated with her father finally abandoning her.
For some time, Kya tried to survive on her own. This was, however, not practical or safe for a young girl like her. With the good graces and kindness of Jumpin and his wife Mable. Meanwhile, Kya was growing up and taking in her new environment. She went to school where she was subjected to discrimination not only from her schoolmates but from the locals of (the fictional town of) Barkley Cove. The locals even gave her the moniker The Marsh Girl. Despite the harshness she had to experience, Kya found a friend in Tate Walker, an old friend of her brother who also fishes at the marsh. Their relationship blossomed until Tate had to leave for university. They did leave each other a promise but will this promise be honored? It was until this part that I covered.
I am halfway done with the book which toggled in and out of different time periods; these shifts in time periods can be confusing. Get over this and the other parts of the novel started to pan out. Still, there are mysteries waiting to be solved. The first one, of course, was the death of Chase. Another question that forms naturally is who is Chase. How is his and Kya’s story connected? Is there a direct involvement? The murder mystery is one of the elements of the story that keeps me invested. Apart from this, I am curious about how Kya grows up, particularly how she overcomes the challenges of growing up while being treated as an outcast. Will she step out of her comfort zone and explore life beyond the marsh? Her fascination with birds seems an integral part of the story but how it is connected with the death and its solution still escapes me.
Where the Crawdads Sing is a quick read. The storytelling was compelling and keeps me invested. I can’t wait to see how the story develops. How about you fellow reader? What book or books are you taking with you for the weekend? I hope you get to enjoy them. For now, happy weekend! And as always, happy reading and take care!