Where the Crawdads Sing Book Review

Where the Crawdads Sing is the most recent book I’ve read. My husband, Wayne, had been encouraging me to download the Kindle version as we share our libraries. Wayne is an avid book reader and Amazon consumer. He is largely responsible for the success of Amazon. Yet he thinks anyone who reviews a book is a nerd. Well, I guess he’s partially right. In many ways I am a nerd. That discussion, however, is for another day.

My Review on Amazon

In preparation for this article, I copied and pasted my Amazon review of Where the Crawdads Sing into a Word document on my iPad. Unfortunately, I forgot to save it at the time. When I opened Word to check on a recipe, I inadvertently deleted the document. Dang! Oh well, I knew it was on Amazon.

Yesterday, I went to go find my review. The scale at the top of the review area showed clearly that the vast majority who had read it gave it 5 stars, as I did. Yet all the reviews on the first page were 1-3 star reviews. I read them all for at least five scrolls. I couldn’t really disagree with some of their points.

  • Unrealistic
  • Poor supporting character development
  • Never heard an accent like that
  • How could she have survived

By the way, I never found my review, even after looking at them in chronological order.

Why I Loved This Book

I identified with Kya, the main character, in many ways. Her love of nature, feelings of inadequacy in the outside world, and the abandonment she experienced all touched my heart.

The prose from Delia Owens during Kya’s time in her natural world fills the first half of the book. Even during the difficult scenes of home life, the feeling that calmness and beauty was available mere steps away from the front porch bolstered me to read on.

My childhood home was rural. It was isolated from other children, with only my sister for companionship. My parents were not abusive, yet I also enjoyed quiet alone time, discovering insects crawling along the ground or on leaves. My father taught me the insects to avoid and I spent hours looking at the Encyclopedia color plate of poisonous snakes. I suppose my fascination with books and information about nature is also similar to Kya.

Every instance where the detractors point out implausible plot, I had already understood the why; when Kya was taken from her environment she retreated into herself, I didn’t try to read aloud the accents – rather I ‘heard’ Southern accents I’m very familiar with. Finally, I read the story as fiction, giving the author carte blanche to create her reality.

Why Read This Book?

If you didn’t grow up in the South or in a rural area, read it to get a sense of that life. I remember as a child reading, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. My mind absorbed every word about the foreign world of a metropolitan city and it gave me a different perspective . Also, Where the Crawdads Sing will be made into a movie and as with most other books made into movies, the book is always better.

I’d love to hear what you thought of the book, here in the comments. Or signup for my newsletter and reply to my email.

Access Hope in an Atmosphere of Fear

This week has most of us reeling in a place of fear and hopelessness. How do I access hope in an atmosphere of fear?

Add Normalcy with Caution

I look for opportunities to continue with activities that bring me peace. If you read my posts, you know I love Bok Tower Gardens. The atmosphere there is quiet, contemplative and serene. This weekend I’ll pack a snack, add my wipes, fill my water bottle and explore the trails.

In the gardens, I’ll engage all my senses to see the beauty of flowers, hear the music of the carillon and birds, catch the sweet scent of yellow jessamine and citrus blooms, feel the hardness of the cardboard cycad and the softness of the Spanish moss. By surrounding myself with the beauty of nature, my sense of calm and hope will be restored.

Find Your Hope

Do you know what brings you a sense of calmness? I invite you to explore connecting with your heart to find the answer.

Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Sit upright in a comfortable position, feet flat on the floor. Place your left hand over your heart, close your eyes and take a slow, calm breath in through your nose. Exhale in the same slow manner through relaxed lips. Repeat three times.

Think about the last time you felt the most serenity.

Add Some Calmness to Your Day

What can you do right now that will bring you a similar sense of calm?

For some it is as simple as taking a warm bath, reading a book, taking a nap, listening to music, stroking the fur of their pet, or sitting outside. What gives you a sense of calmness? How can you do that right now?

I wish you calmness everyday, multiple times this coming week. It’s the most important step you can take to access hope in an atmosphere of fear.

With love,
Dawn

Enjoying the Gift of Tranquility

Enjoying the gifts of tranquility by living in the moment is sometimes easier than others.

I planned my day thinking about enjoying the gift of tranquility. Formally turning in my volunteer materials at Bok Tower Gardens was my Monday declutter priority.

As I pulled into their parking lot, I thought, “Why not enjoy a nice lunch first, then a walk in the garden before handing over my notebooks and name tag.”

A Place Created for Tranquility

Approaching the visitor center, I stopped to read the Edward W. Bok quote, “Make you the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it.” I breathed out a calming sigh.

Then I saw evidence that a bus load of active seniors was eminent. My focus changed. Quickly, I walked to the Blue Palmetto Cafe and placed my order. As I made my way toward my favorite table for two by the window,  I saw the volunteer leading the first walking tour along the ‘river of stone’, the participants clearly engaged in a story about Spanish moss. This was my primary volunteer job. I felt both sadness and relief to see someone else performing this service.

My sense of tranquility, looking out onto the pollinator garden, intensified during my meal. Normally, I quickly finished my two-piece sandwich wrap and wolfed down the bag of chips. However, my behavior has slowly changed. Last lunch here, I saved the bag of chips for over a week in my car.

Today, I started feeling full before even finishing the first half of the sandwich. In addition to tranquility, I felt a sense of accomplishment as I walked to the cashier for a takeaway box. For convenience, I returned to my car with my half-wrap and bag of chips. By the time I again reached the cafe area, the active seniors had finished lunch and  gathered for their special walking tour.

My Frame of Mind Had Changed

My feeling during this visit to the gardens was like any other member or guest who enjoyed the beauty and tranquility. I took the path less traveled toward a bird blind, “Window by the Pond”. I hadn’t ventured there during the three years I’ve been a member. Volunteering, I was too busy leading tours.

As I pulled open the heavy door, all my senses heightened. I stopped just inside the entrance, closed my eyes and breathed in the scent of the rough hewn benches and the earth beneath my feet. I heard the bird sounds from the trees above the roof of the blind before gently opening my eyes.

Water spread out before me, the surface reflected the blue sky and puffy white clouds. I slowly walked toward the large glass window and scanned the water’s edge for signs of nature. Next I stepped closer to the edge of the glass. My fingers ran across the words on the smooth surface of the plaque, which dedicated the structure as a place to view the natural Florida residents.

A Shared Moment

When I exited the blind, a male northern cardinal was perched on the back of a bench, transfixed on the squirrels enjoying the birdseed spilled beneath the feeder suspended from a large tree. I stopped in my tracks. Warning a visiting couple just entering the area across from me, I mouthed “Bird” and tilted my head toward the edge of the clearing. They had seen the squirrels, and now saw the bright red cardinal. We stood still,  a moment shared by strangers. Eventually we needed to move on. The couple stepped toward the pond, I moved past the squirrels and the cardinal flew back into the safety of the native wild coffee shrubs.

My Tranquility Continues

I made my way to the wetland, always eager to see the carnivorous pitcher plants. There are at least three different types; one tall and lanky, another short and squat, and finally a yellow hue marked the third.

Wanting to wander a bit more, I let my heart lead me along the mulch trails by the edge of the older garden plantings. There I saw the beginnings of the azalea display. Once again I closed my eyes. A slow, deep inhale and the faint scent of flowers filled me as I stood beneath the filtered shade of 90-yr-old live oak trees.

My uplifted mood continued as I walked back toward my car, my mind at rest. As I opened the door, I remembered to stretch my legs, loosening the muscles. Slowly, I eased onto the driver’s seat. Before turning the key, I took a moment in gratitude.

“Thank you for showing me the wonder of nature and slowing my mind toward enjoying the gift of tranquility,” I whisper.

Continuing my day, I felt the stress of others tone down a notch as they reacted to my calmness.

That’s the best part of enjoying the gift of tranquility, sharing it.

~ Dawn