While I was reading Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, I couldn’t help but feel like there was something very familiar about it. It nagged and nagged at me until it finally hit me: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
This book had huge To Kill A Mockingbird vibes. I literally caught a vibe, so I thought it was only fitting that I write a post about both of these outstanding novels.
The last time I did a two-for-one, it was for The Maidens and The Silent Patient. I referred to it as killing two birds with one stone. Obviously, considering the circumstances of today’s post, I would like to clarify that the two birds being hit with stone are not mockingbirds. ‘Tis a sin, you know.
Without further ado, please enjoy my inner musings.
To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee
Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird
Let’s refresh our memories because if you’re like me, then you haven’t read this book since 7th grade.
Lee’s story takes place in the fictional southern town of Maycomb, Alabama during the years 1933-1935. Our narrator is the young and adorable Scout Finch – I believe she is seven years old when the book starts. So young, and so very naive.
Long story short, Scout Finch discovers racism and prejudice in her small town of Maycomb after one of the black residents, Tom Robinson, is falsely accused of committing a crime against a white woman. Scout’s dad, Atticus Finch, agrees to defend Tom in the trial, which creates a lot of discord among the residents. As all this trial craziness is happening, Scout and her brother Jem discover that their reclusive and mysterious neighbor, Boo Radley, is just a nice and normal dude, and not some evil boogeyman (kids, am I right?).
The ending of this book hits you as hard as your sibling hits you when you’re being annoying. Just kidding, it hits you way harder: Tom Robinson is convicted by an all-white jury for a crime he didn’t commit, even though Atticus Finch had hard evidence that Robinson was innocent. It’s very disappointing, but also not totally surprising.
This book is considered classic literature. Just about every middle schooler across the country has read it, and that will probably be the case for many, many more years to come.
Where the Crawdads Sing By Delia Owens
She knew the years of isolation had altered her behavior until she was different from others, but it wasn’t her fault she’d been alone. Most of what she knew, she’d learned from the wild. Nature had nurtured, tutored, and protected her when no one else would.Delia Owens, Where The Crawdads Sing
If Boo Radley were to have his own spinoff or pre-qual novel, I would imagine it looking a lot like Where the Crawdads Sing.
For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet fishing village in North Carolina. Kya Clark is barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when the popular Chase Andrews is found dead, locals immediately suspect her.
But Kya is not what they say. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life’s lessons from the land, learning the real ways of the world from the dishonest signals of fireflies. But while she has the skills to live in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world—until one of those young men, Chase Andrews, is found dead.
Where the Crawdads Sing spans over multiple years, from 1952 to 1969. The chapters alternate between Kya’s life leading up to the trial and the trial itself. You’ll go back and forth, wondering if Kya is innocent or guilty, and that question won’t really be answered until you read the very last page.
This book is a coming-of-age story set to beautiful descriptions of nature. I know this book will become classic literature, and it could easily become the “To Kill A Mockingbird” for high school students (if it hasn’t already).
Just Read Them
If you like To Kill A Mockingbird then I think it’s safe to say that you’ll probably enjoy Where the Crawdads Sing too. Both books have themes of prejudice, loss of innocence, and justice vs. law.
I would especially like to emphasize the loss of innocence and prejudice in both of these books. Kya is very misunderstood, like Boo Radley, and she loses her innocence very early in life because of abandonment, and even more when she realizes that the town she lives in doesn’t accept her. I would consider her an honorary mockingbird.
Either way, you need to stop what you’re doing and read both books. Let me know what you think in the comments.
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