We have now been told to say at home. Some of us have lost our jobs, some of us are working at home, most of us are trying to juggle many things – all within the confines of our homes. Those who live with you are probably butting heads and tensions are probably a bit higher than usual. Maybe some time away from reality is what is needed. How about escaping into a good book?
I am in the ‘Bois Bookclub for Girls’ – a group of women in our 50’s who live in that area. Every month we read a book, we escape from reality and then meet to chat over what we thought. It’s usually with a glass of wine. This time it was done over Zoom – there was still wine!
So, if you are in the mood for a bit of escapism, we have a recommendation. This book earned our score of 8.6 out of 10 (we use the Net Promoter Score ‘NPS’ as created by Bain & Co ‘Would you recommend this book to someone?’). So this score means: Absolutely, we would recommend it!
‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ is the debut novel by Delia Owens. Set in the marshlands of North Carolina in the United States, it is very pertinent to our current situation in that it is also about isolation. We loved the way the author brings out the troubling prejudices and racism of North America in the 60s. The tender writing style helped us relate to the characters, but we really found empathy with Kya the main character, in particular. How wonderful to find a story of female grit, determination and empowerment!
The story shows how through the challenging circumstances of abandonment, isolation and discrimination, a little girl can grow up alone and show the world what it’s like to be strong. She not only finds education, but she uses it to the max ultimately finding an unlikely financial income.
Living alone as a child in uninhabited marshland, mocked and terrorised by the nearby, local community, Kya is forced to fend for herself with only scant memories of her mother’s influence. The marsh becomes her salvation, her nurturer, her teacher, and her companion and helps her to make sense of the world. She finds solace there and builds friendships with local animals, and ultimately with human beings. Although alone, she still craves the love and kindness of others. This drives her, but her lack of worldly experience takes her along paths she shouldn’t go. While she has nothing to fear from her eerily alienated, marshland home, it is in fact, society that is to be feared.
The story takes on a courtroom drama where a murder becomes the central focus. Kya is thrown into the rules of general society. The blend of the natural world, murder and the ferocities of a courtroom make this a tense, at times nail-biting drama.
This is a book that is a joy to read, one that will keep you turning pages with its beautiful prose, sound knowledge base, awareness of social issues, all told as it embraces a family narrative, one of love as well as an intriguing murder.
It’s clear that the world we live in does not have to be shaped by the general consensus – we can still live in a way that makes us happy and still thrive. Bringing it back to our current situation, when all the awfulness we are going through subsides, our lives are bound to be different. Hopefully we will be more tolerant of others and kinder.
Kya helped us to find our own inner strengths and the motivation to overcome challenging situations beyond our control. We loved it, we hope you will too.