If you’ve visited my blog these past days, you will have noticed me having started my year in review posts, chronicling my top movies and shows to an extent. Today is all about my top reads of 2021. Once again, I need to clarify that I only read these books in 2021, not all of them were published that year!
I managed to read 50 books in total last year, which was a mix of comics, poetry collections, fiction and non-fiction. Thanks to my reading experiments, I often stepped out of my comfort zone and glad I got the chance to do so. However, I want this list/ranking to focus on fiction. I will, however, include some poetry books, etc. in my honorable mentions at the end of the post!
CW: loss of a loved one, (parental) abandonment, grief, sexual assault, death, domestic violence, child neglect
When I first heard about this book, I immediately knew it was going to be a good fit for me! All my friends loved it, the premise sounded so good and I was ready to have my feelings crushed again. And yet, I didn’t actually pick up the book until the final month of the year … sometimes I’m just scared of the things that I know are good for me.
Where the Crawdads Sing is told in multiple timelines that slowly converge. For one, you have Kya’s entire childhood, teen years and adult life and then there’s the crucial year of 1969, where a certain character was found dead and suspicions arise. I have to say I really wasn’t as invested in the investigation until the last chapters, because Kya’s life was just so much more interesting. I wanted to adopt her in like … chapter 2? She’s the perfect example of resilience in the face of all the terrible things life can throw at you.
I’ve read The Lonely Citythis year, so I actually have a bit of background knowledge on solitude and loneliness, I also live by myself in a city during what can only be considered “non-normal” circumstances, but I don’t know how Kya survived for so long. The smallest kindness can make such a difference and it was heartbreaking to often see her, understandably, closed off and alienated from the world.
Owens, who previously co-wrote several non-fiction books, has done some beautiful work with her first novel. The descriptions of the marsh and nature in general are so very atmospheric and enticing. I very much appreciated the incorporation of poetry and lyrics, that neither felt pretentious nor out of place. Overall, there was a clear authentic root to the story, which just made it all the more gripping. The only thing I struggled with, and I realize that is a very me-thing, was the heavy Southern slang. It made sense and also changed over time (at least in part), but as a non-native speaker, it was a bit of a rough start for me. In general, I’d say this is definitely more for people who enjoy slow-paced, character driven stories!
Lastly, I cannot help but mention the ending. I did not find it surprising, like many others, but still thought it was extremely fitting for the tale we were told. I like when things come together in a way that just makes sense.
Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! After reading it, I definitely understand the hype!
Now, having talked about the book, I want to say that I’m really excited to talk about the upcoming movie adaptation of Where the Crawdads Sing! Reese Witherspoon is known for having some great picks for her book club, but when she enjoys something, she also tries to be involved in the adaptation. It comes as little surprise that she is therefore one of the producers of the film.
The casting I’ve seen so far is spot on! (Below a picture of some of the mains) The release date next year got pushed back for what you can imagine to be obvious reasons and is now scheduled for July 22, 2022. I do think this is a movie I’d rather enjoy in the comfort of my own home, just because of some of the heaviness, but still, looking forward to it. I cannot wait to see a trailer and experience Daisy perform her magic with adapting accents so foreign to her own!
Did you read Where the Crawdads Sing? Do you want to? Will you watch the movie? Let’s chat!