Where the Crawdads Sing is part murder mystery, a coming-of-age narrative and a celebration of nature—all taking place in the south. The following book club questions will have spoilers so if you haven’t read the novel yet, check out my preview and review.
The story starts off in late 1969 and town heartthrob Chase Andrews is found dead. Locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl, who was left to raise herself in the marshes of North Carolina when her family abandoned her at a young age. While Kya is dismissed as ‘marsh trash,’ in reality, she’s sensitive and intelligent. When two young men from town become intrigued by her, it changes all their lives forever.
Let’s get into the book club questions
- For most of the novel, the chapters alternate between Kya’s upbringing and the murder mystery. What did you think about the balance between the two?
- There’s so many vivid descriptions of life in the marsh. What are some of the descriptions that stuck out to you the most?
- We know that Kya is the one left behind. For much of the novel, we don’t know why Kya’s mother left and never returned. Why did you think she left at first? What did you think about Jodie’s revelation about their mom? What did it reveal about the differences between Kya and her mom? Were you surprised when Jodie came back?
- How would Kya’s life have been different if she would have stayed in school?
- Let’s talk about the ways in which Jumpin’ and Mabel become surrogate parents. How did they help her survive? Why do you think they didn’t turn her in to social services, knowing that she lived alone as a child?
- Why do you think Tate was always drawn to Kya? What did he see in her that others didn’t?
- When Tate went to college and came back, he couldn’t see a life with Kya. Let’s talk about why he thought this and the actions behind his decision.
- How did observing nature impact Kya’s viewpoint of relationships?
- What do you make of Chase’s interest in Kya? Was she a conquest or so you think she was something more to him at first? Tate and Chase are very different type of guys. What did you think Kya saw in them?
- Did you think all along Kya killed Chase? Or did you believe it was someone else?
- Once Kya was arrested, did you think she was going to be convicted? Were you surprised at the outcome?
- Kya is judged throughout her entire life: as a child, she’s the dirty, uneducated marsh girl and then as an adult, she’s the odd and wild thing in the marsh. Instead of trying to help her as child, the locals turned their backs on her and left her alone. How did this impact the later trial case? What role did guilt play in it?
- Do you believe Tate was the right person for her? Why or why not?
- Let’s talk about the ending. Were you surprised she never told the truth to Tate? Why do you think she did kill Chase? Did that change your opinion of Kya?
- Do you think Kya was a victim of circumstances? How did loneliness impact her decision making?
- What did you think about the use of poetry? Were you surprised when Kya was a secret poet?
- Let’s talk about the title, what does Where the Crawdads Sing represent in the context of this story?
Next on my TBR (to be read) list
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