“I wasn’t aware that words could hold so much. I didn’t know a sentence could be so full.” ― Kya / Marsh Girl in Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
I first became aware of Where the Crawdad’s Sing when it became the September 2018 pick of Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club. I purchased the audiobook that fall, but didn’t get around to listening to it until recently.
I’m in a book club that meets once a month and I was hosting June’s meeting. Since Where the Crawdad’s Sing had remained on best seller lists for months and months, I thought it was a good one to pick for the group and it didn’t disappoint. It was a crowd pleaser.
The book is a coming-of-age story about a young Kya Clark in the 1950s and ’60s, raised more by nature than humanity. Abandoned by her family at a young age, Kya learns to survive in her family’s shack in the marshes of North Carolina with very little human interaction.
The nature writing in the novel is extraordinary and the interweaving of poetry to develop the plot is fun. Issues connected to race, environment, education, sex, and community are all touched upon in the novel and could be explored in great depth.
But for the sake of this blog, I’d like to point out the beautiful testament the novel makes to the power of words. Kya does not formally attend school, but, thankfully, is befriended by a young local boy named Tate and taught to read.
The ability to read, something many of us regularly take for granted, opened up the world, and even her own emotions, for Kya: “I wasn’t aware that words could hold so much. I didn’t know a sentence could be so full.”
Because she learned to read, Kya could read the science books Tate brought to her, teaching her about the natural world around her that she loved so much, and even leading to financial freedom later in life when she could publish her own studies.
Because she learned to read, Kya could connect with her mother in the only way possible, by reading the novels and poetry her mother left behind in the shack.
Because she learned to read, Kya was able to process her feelings and attempt to make a loose connection with the world by writing and mailing poetry using a pseudonym.
Because she learned to read, Kya’s life was much, much more full.
So what is your “because?” Because you learned to read, you ___? How is your life more full because of reading?