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Where the Crawdads Sing Controversy and Delia Owens - Fable Reading Guide

where the crawdads sing blog
Where the Crawdads Sing” is a 2018 coming-of-age murder mystery novel by Delia Owens. The dual timeline story follows a young girl named Kya and the adventures and strife she faces while growing up isolated in the North Carolina marshes. This book is widely popular, having spent several weeks on the New York Times Bestselling list, and it was even adapted into a movie released July 15, 2022. Many people loved this book, including celebrities Reese Witherspoon and Taylor Swift, who both got involved in the film. Reese Witherspoon produced the film, and Taylor Swift wrote a song for it called
Curious about why people love the book so much? You can read Where the Crawdads Sing HERE on Fable!Here is everything you need to know about this massively popular book and the questions surrounding it!

Why is Where the Crawdads sing so popular?

As of January 2022, 12 million copies of “Where the Crawdads Sing” have been sold, making it one of the best-selling books of all time. The book seems to appeal to a broad audience, mixing romance, coming-of-age themes, murder mystery and thriller elements, and adventure, which can pull in different groups. The book doesn’t fit neatly into any singular genre. It’s an atmospheric tale about a young girl with many people swooning and on the edge of their seats. Where the Crawdads Sing has industry analysts struggling to explain its staying power. Other blockbuster adult fiction novels eventually fall off the bestseller lists after a few weeks, but Where the Crawdads Sing has remained for years. Another anomaly about this book is that sales seemed to peak months after its release, while for most books, sales are typically at their highest right around publication. While word-of-mouth buzz and prominence on the bestseller lists helped, there is still no clear explanation for the success of this book. In an interview with the New York Times, the president of sales at Penguin Random House, Jaci Updike, said, “I’ve never seen anything like this in 30 years...This book has broken all the friggin’ rules. We like to have a comparison title so that we can do sales forecasts, but in this case, none of the comparisons work.”

Is Where the Crawdads Sing based on a true story? 

No, Where the Crawdads Sing is not based on a true story. Delia Owens came up with this fictional story and began working on it over ten years ago. And while it’s made up, Owens speaks candidly about how she drew inspiration from her own experience living in the wilderness as a zoologist and conservationist, cut off from society: “It’s about trying to make it in a wild place,” she said. She spent a lot of her life living isolated from people and close to wild animals, which is something the main character in her book does as well.

Where the Crawdads Sing Controversy

Rumors are circulating about Delia Owens and an unsolved murder during her trip as a conservationist in Zambia in 1995. A poacher was killed during an anti-poaching patrol, a conservation project run by Owens and her then-husband, Mark Owens. An ABC crew filming the Owens’ work for a documentary caught the shooting on camera. The episode aired in 1996, and Zambian officials immediately opened an investigation, but the case remains unsolved today.Delia Owens has spoken up on the incident and claims she was not involved: “There was never a case, there was nothing.” Despite her statements shutting down her involvement, Zambian officials still want to question her and Mark Owens.This controversy has unraveled throughout the internet, causing lots of speculation and even causing some fans and curious readers to hesitate with their support of Delia Owens and her novel.

Is Kya black or white in Where the Crawdads Sing?

In the book, Kya refers to herself as “white trash,” so it’s assumed that Kya is white.

What is the moral and message of Where the Crawdads Sing?

The novel’s main character, Kya Clark, faces many hardships in her life and is subject to awful treatment, rumors, and being ostracized. Throughout the book, she has no choice but to remain strong in the face of these tribulations, from which the theme and importance of resilience arises. Much of this book surrounds nature and the safety it provides for Kya. The title, “Where the Crawdads Sing,” refers to the marsh where many creatures live, thrive, and sing. Nature is made out to be an essential aspect in this book, demonstrating that even simple things like nature hold incredible value. Places untouched by humankind, which ruined much of Kya’s life, are essential to her feeling safe and at home.

Popular Quotes

“Why should the injured, the still bleeding, bear the onus of forgiveness?” ― Delia Owens

“If anyone would understand loneliness, the moon would.” ― Delia Owens

“There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot.” ― Delia Owens

“She knew the years of isolation had altered her behavior until she was different from others, but it wasn't her fault she'd been alone. Most of what she knew, she'd learned from the wild. Nature had nurtured, tutored, and protected her when no one else would.” ― Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing

“What d'ya mean, where the crawdads sing? Ma used to say that." Kya remembered Ma always encouraging her to explore the marsh: "Go as far as you can --- way out yonder where the crawdads sing." Tate said, "Just means far in the bush where critters are wild, still behaving like critters.” ― Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing

“time is no more fixed than the stars. Time speeds and bends around planets and suns, is different in the mountains than in the valleys, and is part of the same fabric as space, which curves and swells as does the sea.” ― Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing

“I wasn't aware that words could hold so much. I didn't know a sentence could be so full.” ― Delia Owens

“His dad had told him many times that the definition of a real man is one who cries without shame, reads poetry with his heart, feels opera in his soul, and does what’s necessary to defend a woman.” ― Delia Owens

“Unworthy boys make a lot of noise” ― Delia Owens

Want to know more about Where the Crawdads Sing? Read the book HERE on Fable, and if you’re going to discuss it with others, you can make a book club!

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