Combining genres is never easy. It takes a skilled writer to effortlessly blend each genre while making sure that the narrative is cohesive and easily understood by the reader.
Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens, was published in 2018. Coming of age in the 1950s and 1960s, Kya Clark had to raise herself. Reviled by her neighbors in the small southern town she calls home, she is called the “marsh girl” and learned early on that the only thing she can rely on is nature.
In late 1969, local boy Chase Andrews is found dead. Many suspect that Kya is behind the murder. Like many rumors that are not based on fact, these people have no idea who the real Kya is. Though she has been independent since she was a child, the now adult Kya is ready for the possibility of romance. Two young men enter her life. They both make promises of love and devotion. What she does not know is that she will learn some hard lessons and be accused of taking one of their lives in the process.
Part murder mystery, part coming-of-age tale, and part ode to the natural world, this book is amazing. Kya is one of the best female protagonists that I have come across in a long time. She is intelligent, sensitive, strong, and fearless. Her bravery in light of the lies told about her and the accusations by law enforcement is mindblowing.
One thing I really liked was Owens highlighting how destructive racism and prejudice was and still is. This is represented by the only black characters, Mabel and Jumpin. They own the local general store and are one of the few people in town who are in Kya’s corner. Like Kya, they know what it is like to be ostracized and hated. Unfortunately, this small, but important narrative thread is left out of the film.
What got me was the ending. It made me question if I really knew Kya and if the jury perhaps made the wrong decision.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
Where the Crawdads Sing is available wherever books are sold.
When we are kids, we can’t wait to grow up. But then it happens and we question how it went so fast.
The 2010 film,Never Let Me Go, is based on the book of the same name by Kazuo Ishiguro. Kathy (Carey Mulligan), Ruth (Keira Knightley), and Tommy (Andrew Garfield) grew up in a beautiful and isolated boarding school in the English countryside. Besties as children, they were never far from each other. Now reunited as adults, Kathy starts to look back at their memories and piece together the gifts that will shape the rest of their lives.
This film is best described as a coming of age story with a subtle current of science fiction lurking quietly beneath the surface. As I remember my experience to be, the film was ok. The acting is fantastic, but I recall not quite understanding the final scene.
Romantic dramas and coming of age stories usually fall into two categories: Sappy and predictable or suspenseful and unpredictable.
Labor Day, thankfully falls into the second category.
Based on the book of the same name by Joyce Maynard, Labor Day is a love story, but also a coming of age story.
Adele (Kate Winslet) is a divorced single mother who has become anxious and isolated since her husband Gerald (Clark Gregg) left her for another woman. Her son, Henry (Gattlin Griffith) tries to make up for his father’s absence, but is lacking. When a convict, Frank (Josh Brolin) uses them as a means to hide until he can escape from the police, he becomes the father Henry needs and provides the love that Adele needs.
I enjoyed this movie. It sort of had a Wonder Years type of narrative. Toby Maguire narrates the story as an adult Henry, remembering those fateful 5 days. It could have been sappy, cliched or predictable. But it wasn’t. I was on the edge of my seat the entire movie. Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin have electric chemistry, Gattlin Griffith plays his character as both a young boy on the edge of growing up, but also taking on the responsibility of being the man of the house.