Engrossing, nostalgic, and well-written. But just three words don't really do this fine novel justice.
I chose Ordinary Grace because I thought it sounded a little like Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon, which is another absolutely wonderful novel. It is like that, at least on the surface – a story about a 13-year-old boy who lives in a small town in Minnesota, and how several deaths, including a murder, affect him and his family. But it’s a much larger story than that; it’s about family, love, life, God, and “God’s awful grace” (a quote from Aeschylus), plus ordinary grace as referred to in the title. It's not a story about religion, though.
Rich Orlow was the perfect choice as narrator; his flat, Midwestern accent is perfect, and he gives each character – males, females, and a wide variety of ages – distinctive and very believable voices.
It's possible that a movie could be made of this book, but I'm doubtful any film would be anywhere as good, so I'm content if no one makes one.
I absolutely loved this Audible title -- perhaps more than if I had simply read it -- and I will definitely listen to it again at some point.. Highly recommended.
Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.
Missed this book when it first came out, so glad I found it. It's told in the voice of Frank Drum...an adult looking back at 1961, the summer he was 13... a small town preacher's son figuring out who he is and what he believes... as the town reels from multiple deaths.
This book has the feel of Enger's "Peace Like a River," Grisham's "A Painted House," Burns' "Cold Sassy Tree" and"Doig's "The Whistling Season" ... all books I loved. It's rich with people I have met, dealing with the imperfections of their own and others... of families falling apart and growing stronger.
There is real life and hard topics addressed as seen through Franks young mind. My kids wouldn't have been ready for this at 13 at all... more like 16 up... bit of sexual content, bit of swearing, lots of loss and complicated relationships... but so uplifting. I'll be back to listen again.
I LOVE books. And dogs & quilting & beading & volunteering.
Wm Krueger has written an emotionally charged story of, primarily, the coming of age of two young boys in 1961 rural Minnesota. The sons of a local preacher and mother who gave up a career to marry their older sister is the family star. When a series of misfortunes hit the town this family is torn apart as are other characters.
Speaking of characters, Krueger has developed each person in his novel with grace and thoroughness, telling not only about their summer of ;'61 but their pasts. I enjoyed Gus very much and felt he added a lot to the boys growth.
The conclusion surprised me a lot and In mysteries I find that a welcome part of a story arc.
I feel fortunate to have listened to two 5 star novels in a row thru Audible. These both were books I would never have purchased were it not for Audibles Return policy for members..I am encouraged to try authors I've never heard of before.
I loved this book from beginning to end! Vivid characters, superb narration, and a story that was at the same time uplifting, exciting and heart-wrenching! I could not recommend this book more highly!
Yes! Krueger is a master author, and the narration is unobtrusive and allows the story to go forward while maintaining interest.
The family, a pastor, his wife and three children live in the Heartland where each character develops and grows while facing larger spiritual questions. There is a traumatic loss that has a ripple effect throughout their small community. Each character in the family addressed larger issues (prejudice, assumptions, belief in or faith in God, ways to communicate) and each changes and grows in different ways. By the end, each character is further 'polished' and moves further toward individuation and understanding. There was a warm understanding of small towns and small town dynamics, an understanding of a bygone era where people would go to the drugstore for a rootbeer or phosphate (that was actually done back in the day!) and an 'aliveness' to the writing that sometimes made me feel I could feel the breeze rustling the curtains on a hot day.
Very good narrator who was 'unobtrusive' but told the story in an easy to listen to way.
Yes - though I couldn't. It was a reward at the end of each day - much appreciated.
This is a book that was enhanced by the wonderful narrator. He did a superb job. At the end of the book, the author mentions that he thinks the book would be improved by being read aloud, and he is correct. The book is wonderfully written and the author evokes a time and place long gone in America. The characters are people I really cared for and the sorrow that comes to them in the story really moved me. I wished I could read a book just like it when it was finished.
For a book that has a thread of mystery that pulls you through the pages, the author didn't skimp on character development. It ticked all the boxes - gripping plot, solid character development, distinct voices, a tangible setting. I also enjoyed that it took place in a preacher's home - and the dimension that added to it.
This book reminded me of "Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter" and "Chiefs" - not only because it was set in the recent past, but also because the mystery was supported by well developed characters.
This is a book that makes you want to write one of your own, based on your childhood memories. But you could never do as well as William Kent Kreuger has done here. I was completely immersed in the Minnesota landscape, I could feel the heat and the worry, and the darkness. It's not often that I cry while listening to an audio book, but I cried many times while listening to the extraordinary work.
The only nit I would pick is that it becomes almost unbelievable that the young hero is always present (through eavesdropping, or overhearing, or circumstance) in all of the key plot developments.
Go ahead, and buy this one. It's almost perfect.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
I had high hopes for this story based on the positive and generally affectionate reviews from the author’s loyal fans. I was therefore disappointed that in my opinion, the story, while generally good, had some execution flaws that brought it down. The narrative is saturated with similies and metaphors, many of them repeated more than once, that were distracting in their lack of imagination. The dialogue felt self-conscious and stilted, leaning way too often into golly gee “Leave it to Beaver” territory. An editor needed to help delete a few scenes that added nothing to either plot progression or character development (a marriage counseling session for instance). And the narration, while not the fault of the author, was only adequate, especially in the interpretation of the dialogue – generally failing to communicate genuine emotions of the characters.
Regarding the plot, as I said, it was generally good, and I did develop affection for some of the characters, especially Gus, Jake and Dad. There were a couple of characters who seemed to be written as though they had greater impact on the story but then kind of fizzled out red herring style. I figured out the solution very quickly and was impatient with the wrap up. I give it about a 2.5, so I’ll round up to 3 stars, and probably won’t be looking for more from this author.