Kya is an independent, hardworking, resourceful main character living off the land in the marsh. She’s the type of protagonist that you can’t help but root for her til the very end.
This book is quite multifaceted: while it is a tale of survival and love, it is also a murder mystery, and a brilliant one at that.
The beautiful marshland setting is incredibly easy to imagine for readers, so much so that you’ll feel like you’re exploring the marsh with Kya. However, the community of the nearby town is so cold to her that they tone down the pleasant nature of the book considerably.
The characters in Where the Crawdads Sing are mostly Caucasian, except for two Black American characters that provide Kya with the supplies and support she needs to survive in the marsh.
While this story can be a bit description-heavy at times, you won’t be able to put it down. It’s an absorbing experience unlike anything you’ve read, so much so that it truly doesn’t fit into any exact genre.
The performances from the cast of Where The Crawdads Sing was exceptional. The way each and every actor/actress portrays their character evokes a great amount of emotion from the audience whether that be proudness, pity, anger, or anxiousness. Similar to the book, there wasn’t much diversity besides Mabel and Jumpin’ however their roles in the story were very significant.
The plot of the movie stays relatively true to the plot of the book. It jumps between two timelines: One of Kya growing up in the marsh and learning how to survive on her own and the other of the murder investigation and court case where Kya is the main suspect. From the very beginning of the movie, we get introduced to the court case almost immediately which takes time away from Kya’s childhood. If you’ve read the book, her childhood is explored so much and it really makes up who Kya is as a person. I wish we got to see more of that in the movie as it would have created a stronger emotional connection to her.
Filmed in the State Parks of Mandeville and Madisonville, Louisiana, the cinematography of Where The Crawdads Sing is by far the best part of the movie. The stunning wide shots of the marsh and its wildlife combined with its warm color tones allow the audience to see the marsh as Kya does—as home.
Mychael Danna’s Where the Crawdads Sing OST (Original SoundTrack) blends non-western traditions with orchestral music to bring the marsh to life. His pieces capture the wild marshlands of the North Carolina setting as well as the underlying mystery of the murder court case. Also in the album is an original song by Taylor Swift called “Carolina,” a folksy song that is perfect for Kya’s story.
As much as I loved the film and everything that went into it, I didn’t find it very engaging. It may be because I already know the story and have read the book, but never once during the movie was there a moment I felt on the edge of my seat despite the fact that murder mystery is one of its main genres.