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Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (audio)

Source: Purchased
Audible, 12+ hrs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, narrated by Cassandra Campbell, is my 9th book for the 12 books recommended by 12 friends. Kya Clark is a young girl living in the marshland of North Carolina in the 1950s and 1960s, but her home life is far from calm and loving. Many of her family abandon the marsh and her father, leaving her alone with a man who drinks too much, has a mercurial personality, and can be abusive. She grows up wild like the birds and fish around her, learning about the marsh from the marsh and learns how to fish and find muscles on her own, as she struggles to earn money to live after even her father abandons her.

As you might guess, this marsh girl is shunned by her school peers, forcing her to live in the marsh and evade truant officers. She shies away from town, except for Jumpin’s marina gas station and shop where she strikes deals for gas for the boat and other supplies, mostly grits. He and his wife care from her at a distance, as close as she will let them. Kya is an independent woman who fears everything outside the marsh. And rightly so.

The death of former football star Chase Andrews, however, thrusts Kya into the spotlight and at the center of a murder case, with her life hanging in the balance. I loved all of the poetry in the book. I love that Kya finds solace in poetry and uses it to get through some of her most trying times in this novel. Cassandra Campbell is an excellent narrator, as she dramatized each of the characters well and made them easy to differentiate.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is a sweeping tale, and I fell into it and out of it like the tides. Some of the longer descriptive sessions dragged on too long. But overall, I enjoyed the story and Kya’s coming of age story with the backdrop of the marsh and the predator-prey dynamic.

RATING: Quatrain

About the Author:

Delia Owens is an American author, zoologist, and conservationist. She is best known for her 2018 novel Where the Crawdads Sing. Owens was born and raised in Southern Georgia, where she spent most of her life in or near true wilderness.

Mailbox Monday #739

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has its own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Emma, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what I received:

The Last to Vanish by Megan Miranda from my mom.

Ten years ago, Abigail Lovett fell into a job she loves, managing The Passage Inn, a cozy, upscale resort nestled in the North Carolina mountain town of Cutter’s Pass. Cutter’s Pass is best known for its outdoor offerings—rafting and hiking, with access to the Appalachian trail by way of a gorgeous waterfall—and its mysterious history. As the book begins, the string of unsolved disappearances that has haunted the town is once again thrust into the spotlight when journalist Landon West, who was staying at the inn to investigate the story of the vanishing trail, then disappears himself.

Abby has sometimes felt like an outsider within the community, but she’s come to view Cutter’s Pass as her home. When Landon’s brother Trey shows up looking for answers, Abby can’t help but feel the town closing ranks. And she’s still on the outside. When she finds incriminating evidence that may bring them closer to the truth, Abby soon discovers how little she knows about her coworkers, neighbors, and even those closest to her.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, purchased from Audible.

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.

What did you receive?

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (audio)

Source: Public Library
Audiobook, 12.5 hours
I am an Amazon Affiliate

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, narrated by Cassandra Campbell and Bahni Turpin, was our February book club selection.  Henrietta Lacks was a black woman who felt something was wrong, some lump was growing insider her, and that lump she had was eventually diagnosed as a kind of cervical cancer.  Her treatment commenced, but she bore it all on her own, telling very few in her family about it.  She also continued to bear children throughout the process.  Lacks has since become immortal in that her cancerous cells were collected and cultivated by scientists and renamed HeLa.  Those cells were used in the fight against polio and a number of other diseases.  While she was unable to see the fruits of her cells’ labors, she is in a way immortal.

Rebecca Skloot injects herself into this narrative, which becomes part memoir as she recounts her interactions with Lacks’ children, especially Deborah.  Skloot discovered that this family had been bombarded by requests for information long before she decided to write a book about Lacks and her cells, which had made them less than willing to speak to her.  Despite the many set backs and the paranoia that often ruled Deborah’s reactions to her questions, Skloot made headway and even took family members on road trips in ways that brought the true past of their mother back to the family.  In many ways, this is not just a story about Henrietta Lacks, how her cells helped science and cured disease, or about medical ethics, but it also is a story about a family regaining its connections and its past.

The audio production was well done, especially differentiating between Deborah’s thoughts and that of the author, making them easily discernible.  This audiobook also included an interview with the author about her research and her interactions with the Lacks family, as well as her writing process, which was fascinating.  And although the story shifts from the past to the current research, the book’s narrative flows well and is immediately engaging for those with an interest in science, medical research, and the history of HeLa.  But even then, this is a human interest story about how a family struggles to learn about their mother and her cells and what happened in the past.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, narrated by Cassandra Campbell and Bahni Turpin, packs a punch — hitting the heart of medical research and the debate about who cells belong to, what rights patients have to their own cells, whether there should be more restrictions on their use, and whether compensation should be offered to those who donate their cells.

About the Author:

Rebecca Skloot is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Her award winning science writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine; O, The Oprah Magazine; Discover; and many other publications. She specializes in narrative science writing and has explored a wide range of topics, including goldfish surgery, tissue ownership rights, race and medicine, food politics, and packs of wild dogs in Manhattan. She has worked as a correspondent for WNYC’s Radiolab and PBS’s Nova ScienceNOW.

Book Club had to be postponed due to a snowstorm, but I cannot wait for the discussion in March!