The lovely ‘Lou’ – Louise Talbot

Welcome everyone to The Grown-Up Girls Report book club! If you have just found us – then great to have you onboard! Our online book club is all about getting us back into reading. One of the silver linings of the Corona Pandemic is having time at home – and what better way to fill our time than to read!

This week I’ll be ‘work shopping’ the best selling book ‘Where The CrawDads Sing’ by American author Delia Owens with one of my oldest friends Louise Talbot. Lou is a mum to 3 gorgeous boys who are absolute delights! In addition to being a top notch mother, Lou has worked on and off in NSW State politics for 25 years. International relations is her passion and she is currently studying for a double Masters degree in Counter Terrorism and Intelligence! Impressive stuff!!

Why Alex Chose ‘Where The CrawDads Sing’

The book was described by some as ‘an ode to the natural world’. Still inspired by my reading of Julia Baird’s Phosphorescence where Julia talks about the value of awe and wonder in the natural world, I thought this could work well with my new focus on being inspired by nature!

Reese Witherspoon is going to produce the movie! And we all know it’s so important read the book before you see the movie!

It has been a huge success – it has spent a whopping 82 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list, has been translated into 41 languages and has sold nearly 5 million copies!

It deals with uncertainty, loneliness and the narrative that we are forever shaped by the children we once were.

I didn’t know what a crawdad was! And I needed to!!

What’s It About?

Where The CrawDads Sing is part coming of age tale, part crime thriller with some romance and beautiful nature writing. It centres on the story of Kya Clark who was abandoned by her family at the age of 6. Set in the marshlands of North Carolina, the story focuses on her survival against the odds while battling social prejudice and isolation. A born naturalist who attended school for just one day, Kya soon attracts the attention of 2 local boys. But when one is found dead, the locals immediately suspects Kya, the ‘Marsh girl’.

About Delia Owens

Delia Owens is a retired zoologist who was quoted as saying that she ‘never really thought she could write a novel’ – great message here girls – follow your dreams! ‘Where The CrawDads Sing’ is her first work of fiction. She had previously co-authored 3 works of non-fiction.

While the story is fictional, she was inspired by her experience living in the wilderness cut-off from society when she was a child growing up in the woods in Georgia and also when she lived in the Kalahari desert in Botswana later in life.

Together with her husband. she established a foundation that not only supported local villagers with education but also anti-poaching missions. Unfortunately, in 1995, one of their anti-poaching missions ended in tragedy when a suspected poacher was shot and killed. And while there was never any suggestion that Delia and her husband were present for the shooting, the story has haunted her for years. She is regularly questioned about it but always brings it back to the novel and likens her experience to the ordeals and ostracizing experienced by Kya.

Why Should You Read It?

‘This book makes you a better person’ – direct quote from co-host Lou. This book reminds you about the power of human connection and the transformational power of human kindness and compassion. It will prompt you to rethink your approach to those in need.

Delia Owen’s description of the natural world promises to reignite your interest in our environment and wildlife. Both Alex and Lou initially struggled with Delia’s description of the marshlands but by the end of the book craved it! Delia certainly takes you on a journey and helps her readers foster a love for nature.

It deals with loneliness and uncertainty which is so relevant for the COVID-19 crisis we are going through. It also provides a reminder that it is the quality of human connection that matters NOT the quantity.

Delia doesn’t shy away from the racial prejudice that was clearly still alive and kicking in the 1970’s. It will remind you of just how toxic this period was and also how there is still work to be done!

It will absolutely give you a ‘book hangover’ – thank you @mumcologist for this fabulous term! I needed several days to process this remarkable book. It was remarkably satisfying.

If you are a parent, you will feel incredibly proud of Kya and her story of survival.

Would Alex and Lou Recommend The Book?

Absolutely!!! Both Alex and Lou adored this book and would highly recommend it. While there are some confronting moments in the story, the life changing power of small acts of kindness and compassion will stay with you for a long time and may just ‘make you a better person’.

You can listen to the podcast via your favourite podcast app, or by clicking on the link below.

Thanks so much for being part of our book club!

Alex xx

PS Our book for next week is ‘The Weekend’ by Charlotte Wood. This book is all about growing up and growing old! If you haven’t yet managed to get a copy, why not download it? I’d so love you to be a part of our club! xx