If you want my quick and easy answer: it’s a solid no. This is a popular book. It’s become a hit movie. But, I do not recommend this book for young people and I warn adults to proceed with caution. “Where the Crawdads Sing” is a coming of age, romance, murder mystery with courtroom drama. The book is whimsical, detailed, interesting, intriguing, artistic, and captivating. It is absolutely beautifully well written in a perfect package from beginning to end. I love the descriptions, the intertwined poetry, parallel timelines, and foreshadowing. But is this something you would read with Jesus in a book club, if He did that type of thing. Nope.
Sexual Content– My first “what have I got myself into” moment reading this book when I got into reading the sexual desires and experiences. There is a moment where the main character, Kya, has a sexual experience with the water. There is explicit pre-marital foreplay and sex, sexual assault, loss of virginity, attempted rape, and ultimately a disregard for marriage itself.
Christian Representation– One Christian character, Mabel, shows compassion to Kya but another, the preacher’s wife, shows extreme prejudice against “the dirty Marsh girl”.
Worldview– While Kya has a Bible, she worships nature. The Bible is only used as a way for her to know her siblings names and birthdays.
Rating– The movie is rated PG-13. The book should be rated R. I am leery of the PG-13 rating because I believe that young people will watch the movie and want to read the book.
Language– While it references animals, the f-word is used multiple times. The B–ch and S-word are used. There is crude language toward African American characters as well.
POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT– My analysis of the entire book is that the murder was justified. We come to love Kya through the book but because of who she is, what she has been through, and what she learned in nature vs. the nurturing that she never received- it is assumed that she deserved the good life that she was able to achieve.
This book is good in a worldly sense but, as Christians, we are to discern the worldly from the Godly and strive for Godliness in our lives, thoughts, and entertainment.