"Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens is this month's pick for the NoMo/Gateway Women book club (and yes, there is a childless angle/character in the story, albeit childlessness is not a particular focus). It's been in my "to read" pile forever, and it's been enthusiastically recommended by several of my friends (and even dh!! who picked it off our bookshelves, read it earlier this year and loved it).
The protagonist/heroine is Kya, who grows up alone and unschooled in a shack deep in the marshes near the coast of North Carolina after her mother, her siblings and finally her abusive alcoholic father abandon her and leave her to fend for herself. She survives by foraging for mussels and fish, and selling them to a kind black man who runs a nearby general store. With little human contact, she becomes a keen observer of the natural world around her, known to the curious locals as "the Marsh Girl."
The story develops in two tracks that gradually merge: Kya's solitary growing up years in the 1950s and '60s, and a murder mystery that grips the nearby town in 1969.
I'll admit, this one was slow going for me, initially. The writing was beautiful, but I found myself wondering what all the fuss was about. Once I got midway through the book, though, I couldn't stop turning the pages.
4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 on Goodreads. It was, in the end, a really, really good read -- but I was expecting it to knock my socks off, and it didn't quite do that for me, so I don't feel like I can give it 5 stars.
"Where the Crawdads Sing" was a Reese (Witherspoon)'s Book Club pick, and Witherspoon has produced the movie version, to be released next year. British actress Daisy Edgar-Jones, who was an amazing Marianne in the screen adaptation of "Normal People," will star as Kya. (David Strathairn, whom I have adored ever since "The Days & Nights of Molly Dodd," years ago, will play lawyer Tom Milton.)
This was Book #47 read to date in 2021 (and Book #3 finished in September), bringing me to 131% of my 2021 Goodreads Reading Challenge goal of 36 books. I am (for the moment, anyway...!) 21 (!) books ahead of schedule. :) You can find reviews of all my books read to date in 2021 tagged as "2021 books."