Once again I will be out of sync with the consensus. I really hated this book, in fact, I was angry when I finished it because I felt like I had wasted my time. I read it because my book group was reading it and because several people had told me it was wonderful–it also had glowing reviews in most of the usual places.
Well friends, they were all WRONG. Spoilers follow, so if you want to read the book and not know what is going to happen, stop reading this review now.
The idea that a little girl could raise herself in the swamp is just one of the many ridiculous plot devices readers are supposed to swallow. Since I did not see evidence that we were engaged in magical realism, I assume the writer meant for us to to think the story could have happened the way she describes. I won’t belabor it too much, but I would like to point out that it is possible to create characters who are damaged and have interesting backstories without making them objects of abject neglect and abuse by a WHOLE TOWN. (See Gillian Flynn or Louise Doughty) But then magically, a boy teaches her to read so she turns into a wildlife writer. Wait, maybe it was supposed to be magical realism after all, there is not really another explanation. Hmmmm…
She’s lonely, so of course she enters into a sexual relationship with someone she KNOWS to be unreliable, that makes total sense. Also, the identity of the murderer was no surprise, she telegraphed it all the way through. Owens does get points though, for the poems. They were interesting and added a dimension to Kya’s character. The mother. Come on–maybe you leave, but you walk off and leave a 5 year old child with an alcoholic abuser? I don’t buy it. I also don’t buy that NOT ONE of the siblings ever so much as considered taking Kya with them when they left or even checking on her until 20 years later. Please. Consider the limits of my credulity exceeded.
So, I am not going to post any discussion questions for this one. If you liked it, you can find questions on another site. I am still a little piqued that I wasted valuable reading time on this book. 👿