Book Club Questions for Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

by Heather Caliendo
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Book club questions for Where the Crawdads Sing will have spoilers so if you haven’t read the novel yet, check out my preview and review.

This book has been on the bestsellers list since 2018! I check the New York Times bestsellers list each week and it’s there every time even in 2020. I read this book back in 2018 and it’s hard to find one that compares to it. In exciting news, Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine is going to produce the movie version. Can’t wait for that!

The synopsis 

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

Where the Crawdads Sing 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?
  • Do you think they’ll turn the book into a TV series or movie?

What to Read Next

Crawdads is one of those special books that stick with you for a long time. Here are some other thought-provoking reads:

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes is an engaging tale about five women and their journey through the mountains of Kentucky.

Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England.  But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically.

The leader, and soon Alice’s greatest ally, is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. They will be joined by three other singular women who become known as the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky.

What happens to them–and to the men they love–becomes an unforgettable drama of loyalty, justice, humanity and passion. These heroic women refuse to be cowed by men or by convention. And though they face all kinds of dangers in a landscape that is at times breathtakingly beautiful, at others brutal, they’re committed to their job: bringing books to people who have never had any, arming them with facts that will change their lives.

Based on a true story rooted in America’s past, The Giver of Stars is unparalleled in its scope and epic in its storytelling. Funny, heartbreaking, enthralling, it is destined to become a modern classic–a richly rewarding novel of women’s friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond.

Order the book on Amazon here. Check out my discussion questions here.


Educated by Tara Westover is a deeply personal memoir about a journey to education.

Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Order the book on Amazon here. Check out my discussion questions here.

Happy reading!

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2 comments

Ann Joynt March 15, 2019 - 3:45 pm

Does anybody have a recipe for grits and greens that I can use for my bookcllub?

Reply
Joy Barefoot December 25, 2019 - 7:06 pm

Grits and Greens Recipe:
Print
Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons corn oil, divided
1 sweet onion, grated
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (about 1 ear)
1 cup milk
3 cups water
1 cup coarsely ground grits
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Coarse salt and freshly-ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
4 cups baby greens (such as Kale, collard greens), trimmed, stemmed, and very finely sliced in chiffonade

Reply

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