COVID Chronicles: Chapter 3 of 7 … Book Review Time!

“She reads books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.” – Annie Dillard 

Oh HELLO friends! 

Happy Wednesday (it’s Wednesday right?!)! Anyone else getting confused with the days, or months for that matter? No, just me? 

Hope you’re having a wonderful day & are ready for Chapter 3 of the COVID Chronicles! 

Now, I know we’ve chatted about it briefly over the last few days, but I’m asking you to dig deep + spend some time thinking about the things that bring you joy!  For one of you I know that sloths ALWAYS bring a smile to your face + for another one of you, the very thought of Disney is a total mood changer when things get tough! For me, it’s all things “lip” (lip gloss, lipstick and don’t even get me started on lip filler), coffee annnd of course reading + books. 

I think one of life’s greatest pleasures is being able to sit (on the couch with a blanket + a coffee OR on a pool floaty with a cocktail haha) and for a brief period of time, shut out the stresses of life and see the world through someone else’s eyes. Especially with the current state of the world, who doesn’t want to escape for a little bit?! When I get into a book, I’m IN IT. The noisy chatter of the world around me stops and for those 20, 30 or even 90 minutes, I’m somewhere else, experiencing things I’ve never experienced before, visiting places I’ve yet to visit.  

And so, when I find a book that does all of that and more, there’s no way I’m not going to share it with all of you! So, if you couldn’t tell by now, today we’re talking about a book that has totally changed the way I read (and appreciate the experience of a good book). 

If you love to read or are maybe wanting to get back into it + need a recommendation, then just keep on reading! 

And here my friends, is book review #2! 

The BASICS

Title: “Where the Crawdads Sing” 

Author: Delia Owens 

Price: $35 CAD (from Indigo) 

Genre: Fiction/Historical Fiction/Mystery (yes it’s all 3) 

Number of pages: 368

Started Reading: February 19th 

Finished Reading: February 28th 

Goodreads score: 4.49/5

ABOUT

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING PHENOMENON
More than 6 million copies sold
A Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick
A Business Insider Defining Book of the Decade 

“I can’t even express how much I love this book! I didn’t want this story to end!”–Reese Witherspoon

“Painfully beautiful.”–The New York Times Book Review

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 she yearns 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.

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.

MY THOUGHTS

When I say that this is THE best book I’ve ever read, hear me out before you roll your eyes and say “Ashley, you’ve literally said that about the last 5 books”! It’s true, the last several have been great! They’ve entertained me and fed the hunger that I have for murder mysteries, because your girl likes to read about a good old fashioned murder. The experience of reading “Where The Crawdads Sing” felt like it was my first time ever reading a book. Perhaps that’s what happens when you step out of your comfort zone (aka books on murder) and try something new! But seriously, reading this was like being trapped in a dark room for years + then finally being let out, seeing the bright colours, feeling the sun beat down on you, hearing the birds singing in the background. This book awoke all of my senses in a way that no book ever has and it has completely reignited my love of reading. So this book is going to be a hard one to match with these newly heightened senses of mine. 

ANYWAYS, now that we’re all on the same page about just how much I love to read, I guess we should get into the book review haha. And yes, you can expect THIS much enthusiasm throughout this post! 

I first heard about this book when @AllanaDavison (aka my favourite YouTuber) mentioned this in a monthly fav’s video. During one of my regular trips to Indigo, I beelined it for this one in the New Releases section + upon further research, quickly realized it was a far cry  from the kinds of books I’m used to reading (aka the ones with ALL of the gore and horror – I swear I’m not actually as weird as I sound). Anyways, a couple weeks later I heard someone else rave about how amazing this book was….so of course I caved and picked it up. Now, my initial fear that this was going to be a book I did not connect with was playing out and it took much longer to read the first 5 pages than it should have. The thought of reading all 368 pages was borderline purgatory. Over the next few days, I’d pick it up and force myself to read a paragraph or two because I felt like I owed it to the book to give it a fair chance. Clearly it had to pick up since people were loving it. 

In the process of making my way through chapter 2, I acquired a lovely reading buddy and so together, we set sail on “Where The Crawdads Sing”. Luckily I wasn’t the only one that struggled with the beginning of this book, but we agreed to read up to Chapter 10 + if we still weren’t into it, then into the pile of misfit books it would go. 

And my friends, this is the perfect example of giving things a chance. Once we got past Chapter 4, I think it’s safe to say we were hooked and from that moment on, it only took a few days to finish. I can remember realizing that there were only 2 chapters remaining and wanting to drag out those last couple of pages because I didn’t want it to end. 

SIDENOTE: I will say that reading a book with someone else is kind of great. Remember in high school being forced to read “To Kill A Mockingbird” or “Lord of the Flies”, hating every minute of having to not only read it, but to think about what you’d read + then share your thoughts with the class?  Well some 15+ years later, I’m TOTALLY into it and it’s taken my reading game to a whole new level. If you love reading as much as I do or even want to start reading more, get yourself a reading buddy, pick a book + start reading! I promise you’ll love it! 

Anyways back to the book! As I mentioned, Chapter 4 was pretty much the turning point that we were both hoping for. From there, we couldn’t stop! We’d read a chapter or two and then discuss our thoughts on what had happened and where we saw the book going. It allowed me to not just flip through the pages, but to really get a more intimate look at the book + the characters. Hearing how someone else interpreted something that had just happened also allowed me to pick up on things I might have missed and to gain another perspective. 

As a young girl, I used to write little poems that I’d share with my Grandpa. Up until reading this book, those are special moments that I hadn’t since thought about. This book was so incredibly poetic that I couldn’t help but be reminded of those days. While there were in fact snippets of poems scattered throughout the pages of “Where The Crawdads Sing”, the way the author describes so many things in this book was incredible. From the interior of the shack that Kya calls home to the tree stump located deep in the woods where a secret admirer would leave her such beautiful gifts; my curiosity surrounding poetry has definitely  piqued. 

As you know, I don’t like to go into too much detail with these little book reviews because I don’t want to give anything away, and this book is of course no exception. 

This is all I’ll say…

Delia Owens takes us into Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast where 6 year old Kya aka “the marsh girl” lives. Set in 1952, we experience life with this poor child who has experienced so much heartache, more than most of us could even fathom. One by one, her siblings and eventually “Ma” leave the home, forcing her to fend for herself with her abusive, alcoholic “Pa”. Leaving for days at a time, this 6 year old child is left to her own devices, having to learn to take care of herself, her house, how to cook and make money to support herself. As the pages turn, we see just how resourceful this little girl is, making us forget just how young she actually is. With only one day of school under her belt, she soon teaches herself how to fish, drive a boat, and barter fresh mussels for supplies and money. In a book filled with so much tragedy, the most innocent love story blossoms and we find ourselves rooting for young Kya who’s never been given a chance and by all accounts, has never experienced love in any capacity. 

In just under 400 pages, this book made me laugh, cry and feel a genuine connection with a girl who is no more than a name on the pages of this incredibly written book. When Kya hurt, I hurt. I felt the pain and sorrow for this little child who was robbed of a normal childhood. “Where The Crawdads Sing” is truly a beautiful book that I will never forget & will always have in my collection. 

I was so sad to learn that this was Delia’s first and only novel. I will absolutely be on the lookout for any new releases by this incredible author. 

And there you have it lovelies, book review #2! I’ve since finished two other books so if you like these little posts (which I hope you do!), then stay tuned for more coming soon! 

Have any of you been reading during the quarantine as a way to pass the time? Have you read any good books?? Because I am ALWAYS all ears for a good book recommendation! 

Thanks so much for stopping by friends & I’ll see you tomorrow for Chapter 4! 

Stay safe, 

   xo 

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