Book to movie adaptions can be hard to accomplish. Where the Crawdads Sing is one of the most recent ones to come out into theaters after being a book for a few years. (Photo Credit: Genevieve Chiellini/Achona Online/Canva)
Book to movie adaptions can be hard to accomplish. Where the Crawdads Sing is one of the most recent ones to come out into theaters after being a book for a few years.

Photo Credit: Genevieve Chiellini/Achona Online/Canva

Book versus movie — “Where the Crawdads Sing”

October 25, 2022

The debate over whether the movie or book was better has been a long standing argument. One of the most recent movie adaptations of a book is Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. The movie was produced by Reese Witherspoon and just came out in July 2022.

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The novel flew off the shelves when it was published and released to the public in 2018. It was nominated for  Goodreads Choice Awards Best Historical Fiction and Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American Author. The book goes into great detail about Kya, the main character, and her complicated past. She grew up different from most people in the time period the novel was set in, but her experiences also differ greatly from experiences in today’s world. It also bounces back and forth between her past and her present, which could be confusing, but Owens does a great job of making it clear which period the reader is in. 

The movie adaptation was very similar to the book, but there were some differences that made a big difference when watching the film. One of the main ones being how little the movie went into detail about Kya and her family. Half of the novel described the background details, but the movie only touched on it slightly. 

 Another big difference would be how Kya started writing and drawing her book. Tate, her love interest, suggested a list of publishers that she should reach out to. In the novel, he does this trying to win Kya back and Kya ends up sending in ideas for her own pleasure. In the film, he suggests she publish a book before he leaves and Kya decided to do it due to the fact that she needed the money. 

“I did not read the novel and just watched the movie. I told some friends that had read the novel and they said that I was lucky that I enjoyed the movie since it was a let down for them,” said Jordan McDede (’23).


On the left is the novel cover and to the right is the movie poster. Unless reading the name, it would be hard to see that these two have to do with the same idea. (Photo Credit: Genevieve Chiellini/Achona Online/Canva)


This is usually the case when it comes to movie adaptations. Films do not have time to encapsulate all of the detail that can be seen in a novel. Many complain that the movies end up leaving out key events or situations after reading the book before seeing the movie. However, the movies by themselves would be much easier to watch if one did not have prior knowledge of the book.

For Where the Crawdads Sing specifically, the novel has an exceptional amount of details between how Kya grew up and the family dynamic to the poems that she read throughout the book. The movie does not incorporate the impact of the poems, but it does try to tie them. The movie shows very little attention to Kya’s past which shaped who she was in the future. The novel gives the reader a very different perspective on Kya and her actions while the film takes a lot of her character away. This is unfortunate since Kya is such a deep person with many facets. 


“I find it hard to go from reading the book to watching the movie, so I honestly just end up reading the book. I hate ruining the idea I have about one thing and then watching the film change it,” said Alana Foley (’25).


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