Showing posts with label Delia Owens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Delia Owens. Show all posts

Monday, October 17, 2022

Movie Review: Where the Crawdads Sing

 I enjoy reading more than keeping up with the newest movie releases so I have mixed feelings when one of my very favorite novels is adapted for the big screen. I am often disappointed in the movie version. But not this time. Not with Where the Crawdads Sing. I have enjoyed this movie so much that I've re-watched it several times since purchasing the DVD just a few weeks ago. I think the producers did a phenomenal job bringing Kya to the screen and keeping her story true to the book.



Movie Review: Where the Crawdads Sing

The setting is a small town near the marshlands of North Carolina. The town is shook in the 1960s when the popular young man, Chase Andrews, is found dead at the lookout tower that stands watch over the marsh. But the story begins years before that with the Clark family.

The Clark family lives in a small shack near the water's edge, in the marsh. Mr. Clark is clearly fighting some sort of inner demons and takes it out on those closest to him. Mrs. Clark is a mysterious lady. She lives in that marsh, with an angry man, a handful of children, and a pair of alligator shoes. She is an artist of some sort; painting plein air. She loves her children. Including her youngest, 6 year old Kya.

Over time, the Clark family grows smaller. At one point, young Kya is living alone with the man who physically abused everyone in the family. She trusts no one, has abandonment trauma, and relies on the marsh. Missing her brothers, it is not surprising that she grows to become happy when she sees her youngest brother's friend in his boat. At first, she can only wave and call a greeting to young Tate while her scowling father steers their boat past. 

Living at a level of loneliness that is suffocating, the marsh supports Kya. The townspeople call her "marsh girl". They bully her the one day she attended school as a very young girl. On any rare occasion that a human comes to her home, Kya runs and hides like a wild animal; disappearing into the marsh. 

Kya slowly begins to trust the waterfront shop owners and they grow to love her. As she becomes a beautiful young woman she becomes more interesting to Tate and to Chase Andrews. We see that she has inherited her mother's artistic ability but what else will she inherit?

When Chase Andrews is found dead at the tower that overlooks the marsh, everyone immediately defines it as murder and everyone immediately blames "the marsh girl". Was it murder? Was it an accidental fall?

The marsh knows.

Behind the Scenes

This movie is gorgeous. The scenery is wonderful with birds, tides, water, vast expanses and micro close-ups. In the special features, the producers (Reese Whitherspoon and Hello Sunshine) talk about the setting.

This movie is emotional. You feel the changing moods of the people as clearly as you see the changing times of day on the water.  

The actors and actresses were amazing. Most all of them were new to me and I look forward to seeing them in other roles. 

This movie stayed true to the Kya I met in the novel. Author Delia Owens appears in the features also. It was interesting to see them speak about choosing the actors, setting, and how to get through the timeline of Kya's story in the condensed movie version. I think they pulled it off wonderfully and could only  be improved (and not by much) in a mini-series length. 

Special Features included with the DVD:

  • Adapting a Phenomenon
  • Lyric Video "Carolina" by Taylor Swift
  • Creating the World
  • Women in Focus
If you have never seen this movie, or read the book, I highly recommend both. It may be more interesting to see the movie before you read the book in order to avoid the spoiler of knowing how Chase Andrews came to be dead.

Find Where the Crawdads Sing on Amazon Prime.

The Book Reviews: Where the Crawdads Sing


Where the Crawdads Sing was such a good book that two of us reviewed it here on Review This Reviews. You can read my review of the book (and see a photo of the marsh near where I was living) here and read Treasures by Brenda's review of the book here.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Where the Crawdads Sing Book Review


For those who love to travel, the current global atmosphere fraught as it is with many concerns, may be keeping you at home and make a strong case for sitting back and enjoying some armchair travel. If you are interested in a trip to North Carolina’s remote marshlands, you might want to pick up the bestselling novel Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

Before I read this book, North Carolina was not on my list of places that I would like to see. Now it is. I thoroughly enjoyed the book though it started off a bit oddly, at least for me. I had just finished reading Michelle Obama’s Becoming, which was an excellent book crafted with simple, straightforward language. When I picked Where the Crawdads Sing up, the language seemed overly flowery with text like, “water flows into the sky”, “clammy forests” and “the marsh’s moist breath.” It was not long, however, before I was whisked away to fictional Barkley Cove in North Carolina and wrapped up in the lives of the main characters.

THE STORY


The story? Well, simply put it is that of a girl’s marsh life from the ages of 6 to 25 both with her family and then abandoned by her family, of how she grows up barefoot and wild and, despite sparse interactions with other people, of how she manages to educate herself in her remote environment. It is rich with details about marsh life in North Carolina. It is a coming-of-age tale and it is also one of romance and murder, alternating between the years of 1952 and 1969. The author herself says that the book is about loneliness.

IS IT A TRUE STORY?


Is Where the Crawdads Sing a true story? Not really though Elle magazine says that the story has "striking echoes" to the author’s life in Africa with conservationist former husband, Mark Owens, both of who were linked to the unsolved 1995 murder of an African poacher though the couple has denied anything to do with the murder and no charges have ever been filed.

IS IT RECOMMENDED?


Perhaps somewhat unexpectedly the book, which is Owen's first work of fiction, quickly became a hugely successful book.

The Guardian says that “Surprise bestsellers are often works that relate to the times. Though set in the 1950s and 1960s, this book is, in its treatment of racial and social division and the fragile complexities of nature, obviously relevant to contemporary politics and ecology. But these themes reach a huge audience though the writer’s old-fashioned talents for compelling character, plotting and landscape description.”

Actor Reese Witherspoon, who picked Where the Crawdads Sing  as a book for her book club, helped it build momentum and is quoted in Town and Country magazine as having said, "I can’t even express how much I love this book…There is so much to her story…and it takes place in the breathtaking backdrop of the South. I didn’t want this story to end!"

A whopping eighty-six percent of Amazon readers gave it a 5 star review. It is a New York Times number one bestseller, it has been on that best seller list for 78 weeks and it has sold over 1.5 million copies.

Those are, in my opinion, a whole lot of reasons to check out for yourself the book Where the Crawdads Sing. The majority of readers have loved this book and it comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me. You can find your copy on Amazon by clicking right here and if you enjoy it, be sure to watch for Witherspoon's movie version of the story.

See you
At the bookstore!

Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

QUICK LINKS:


Buy your copy of Where the Crawdads Sing here on Amazon.
Read Dawn Rae's review of Where the Crawdads Sing.









Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, May 20, 2019

Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing

Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing on Review This!
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens was such a beautifully written story that I am having difficulty moving on into any other books. The wait list for this book at the library is long. More than one friend insisted that I read this story. The editorial reviews are glowing. The hype is not wrong. I'm considering reading this story again, only a couple of weeks after finishing it - the story was that captivating. I can't stop thinking about Kya and the marsh life that surrounded her.
"Marsh is Not Swamp."
"Swamp water is still and dark, having swallowed the light in it's muddy throat."
Kya is a young girl, living with her family in a remote shack in the marshes of North Carolina. She is still very young as her broken family disintegrates and disappears. Initially, her explosive father remains and her survival skills begin to develop as she learns to navigate the moods of her father and the moods of the natural world. Beginning at age 6, we watch as the decades of Kya Clark's life unfold. Near the beginning of the story, with the exception of the gulls she feeds, she is completely alone. 
"Hands to her mouth, she held her head back and called "Kee-ow, kee-ow, kee-ow.' Specks of silver appeared in the sky from up and down the beach, from over the surf"
"Crying and screeching, the birds swirled and dived, hovering near her face, and landed as she tossed grits to them. Finally, they quieted and stood about preening, and she sat on the sand, her legs folded to the side. One large gull settled onto the sand near Kya."

" 'It's my birthday' she told the bird." 

The townspeople of Barkley Cove are aware of her. They call her "Marsh Girl". Collectively, they consider her a dirty oddity; literally an untouchable as a mother shields her child from contact during one of Kya's limited trips to the grocery store in town. 

Truancy folks tried to enforce school attendance. Mrs. Culpepper was able get Kya to attend one day, a difficult day, of school; the only positive experience being the chicken pie served at lunch. But after that day Kya decided to never return. And Kya, like any being attuned to living in the wild, was able to disappear each subsequent time Mrs. Culpepper arrived at the remote shack. 

Tate is a young local man. Kya knew him as her brother Jodie's friend. But her brother is gone.  Even so, Tate has been nearby and his quiet and gentle way of being allows them to form a tenuous bond.

Chase is the town hero - the Barkley Cove football star and the guy who got all the girls. If there are any stereotyped characters in this book, it is Chase. But then again, we've all known this guy, haven't we? And what girl who is alone and lonely, and who is becoming an adult, doesn't fall for the practiced charms of a guy like Chase at least once?

Jumpin' is the owner of a marina gas station. In an era where whites and blacks had separate schools and his family lived in Colored Town instead of Barkley Cove, Jumpin' did not have any pre-judgements about the child Mr. Clark had left alone. Kya found Jumpin to be an unlikely friend, mentor, and advisor.  Over time, Kya limits her shopping and bartering to Jumpin's store and avoids town altogether. When tragedy happens - Chase is found dead - Kya's solitary world in the marsh and the civilized world of town collide. Was it an accident or was it murder? And did that wild Marsh Girl, that Swamp Rat, kill the most popular guy in town?


"Tutored by millions of minutes of alone, Kya thought she knew lonely" 

Sometimes I read the book then watch the movie. Sometimes I watch the movie and then read the book. In this case, I highly recommend reading the book first. I can't imagine that a movie - even produced by Reese Witherspoon - will do this story of coming of age while surviving in the marshes justice. 

Ms. Owens knows how to write. Her descriptions of the natural surroundings paints a picture that is easy to imagine. After reading the book I felt as though I had spent the summer at the beach. My review does not come close to conveying the beauty of her prose and her ability to transport you to the location. I encourage you to read a sample of the book and decide for yourself if this is a story you'd like to lose yourself in.
"The morning burned so August-hot, the marsh's moist breath hung the oaks and pines with fog. The palmetto patches stood unusually quiet except for the low, slow flap of the heron's wings lifting from the lagoon. And then, Kya, only six at the time, heard the screen door slap."


Photo Credit: The photo was taken by and is the property of Dawn Rae and was taken in the marsh at North Point State Park, Baltimore, MD.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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