I absolutely loved the narration. The voice for Kya Clark is PERFECT. I am so glad I chose to listen to this one. The narration absolutely transports you to this world.
The writing is beautiful and captivating. I wanted to listen to the story at all times. Kya Clark is an unforgettable character, so exquisitely brought to life. However the ending felt a little rushed to me. I finished the book questioning if I knew all I wanted to know. After considerable thought, it is quite clear that I do. (Sorry trying not to give spoilers, so this may be ambiguous until you read it).
With that being said, my critiques are minor. It is a fantastic novel, and I would definitely recommend it.
This was a wonderful Audio book to listen too. Set in the 1950's, it's a tale of a young girl who is abandoned and rejected not only by her family but also by the towns people. She is known as the Marsh girl, left to fend for herself at the age of ten. She is befriended and loved by some but mostly talked about by the towns people as that Marsh trash.
Those who have befriended, cared for and loved her along the path of her loneliness and growing up, see the value and worth of her hard won self taught skills. It was a moving story that will be read and reread in my lifetime.
It’s difficult to decide where to start: the story, characters, setting, descriptions of the coastal world, and the narration combine to make this Audio book experience so memorable and enjoyable. Cassandra Campbell’s narration is beautiful. I am not well acquainted with Carolina accents, but Campbell’s inflections seemed believable and allowed the reader to feel immersed in that marsh world. Her gentle Kya voice helped bring both the child and the adult to life. Somehow she managed to differentiate the speech of each character and to capture personalities perfectly. And the characters were so well-drawn that I felt as though I would recognize them if I saw them.
My favorite aspect of the book was the marsh itself, and Owens’s knowledge of the ecosystem— the birds, grasses, trees, shells, and waters. I plan to buy the hardcover to reread those many sections again. Her references to Aldo Leopold and to other foundational environmental literature seemed as natural as Kya herself. There is no overt campaign here to save the wetlands, though they are as sensitive and threatened as Kya.
The plot itself isn’t unique or original, and it’s easy to predict where things are headed. It doesn’t matter. I was unsure of the resolution till the end. However, I’m not sure I loved the ending. I think it went at least one page—maybe one chapter—too far. I won’t say more.
sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about work or other things but I don't ever remember in all my years waking up to think about a book. And to ponder what had happened to the character and what might be happening next. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
This book has lovely passages about the natural world, but the author is out of her depth when it comes to plot and character development. The author lapses into childlike naivete too often, making me think she was writing for a 12-year-old audience. Having said that, I listened to the whole book, but about halfway through, I chafed and itched for it to conclude. It was hard to stay in a story so thinly drawn, with so many stock characters whose dialogue was trite, predictable, and cringe-worthy. Yet the descriptions of the North Carolina marsh and its denizens were imaginative and colorful.
(One month later) I'm adding this addendum to my original review: I have been noticing that I am craving the experience of being back in that marsh with the protagonist, where time slowed down, nature became the central focus, and plot and character development dropped into second position. The book has had a lasting impression on me, because the immersion into the protagonist's life in a small cabin in the marsh seems haunting, magnetic, and beyond time.
I was all set to love this book. Living in North Carolina and being an admirer of the coastal natural environment, I thought this book would be just my thing. I see that most other reviewers loved it. But I found this book to be heavy on cliche and shallow stereotyped characters, and just couldn't buy the motivations of some of the characters in certain parts of the book. Why did the supposedly caring mother leave all her children with someone she knew to be abusive--and never contact the children again? Why was Kia "walking like a duck" when Tate spied on her? Huh? I just couldn't buy the wealthy (and predictably also arrogant and violent) man's interest in Kia either. It just did not follow. I couldn't buy the idea that someone who had never been more than a few miles from home could write a guild to seashells of the east coast. The cringe-worthy depiction of the black mammy could not have been more stereotypical--it was painful to read. She says "Lawd" all the time and calls Kia "Chile." Many characters were constantly saying "I reckon...."
The best writing in this book happened when the author was writing about nature. The writing there is honest, compelling, clear, and sometimes poetic. Wow! This person CAN write. And maybe will improve with experience? I hope so. Even though I didn't love this book, I wish I could go bird watching with the author down on the NC coast.
The other thing that I didn't like was the narration; it might be just me, but Kia's weird baby voice and Beverly Hillbillies accent grated on my nerves from the start. Probably it would be better in print.
Such a unique story. Such flowing words and colorful writing skills by the author. In a world full of TED Talks and self-help books, this novel was a much-needed escape. I can’t wait to read more of her books.
I will choose my word’s carefully, so as NOT to betray the books contents. All I can say is that it was a myriad of ups and downs, captivating, thought provoking and profound. In fact, there are SO many avenues in which to provoke thought, I may have to listen again and ponder each one over and over. So many very human and real emotions as well, understanding thereof! One can’t really be disappointed with the ending, for how else could it end? Indeed, a plausibly realistic ending with applicable content throughout and within ALL walks of life. Captivating. Simply captivating.