I would definitely recommend this book. I knew going in it was not a Cork O'Connor mystery. Althought it was quite different then the other books written by Mr Krueger I enjoyed Ordinary Grace as much if not more !
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.
Say something about yourself! I am a runner and avid listener to books. Audible allow me to do my two favorite things at the same time.
As a Jew the concept of Grace is not something we theologically discuss to any great extent. Thus, I hesitated at first because of the title and the beginning overtones of the book. I was rapidly engrossed in the story and wanted to get to know the characters better. The story line, one of loss and coming of age in the early 1960's in Minnesota hit close to home even though it involved a minister's family. The story one of great pain at times was rough to listen to because I identified with Frank and Jake and their parents' at through out the story. I appreciated Krueger's ability to work with the pain and the fall out from it and the quiet love of the family. It is the journey of acceptance and integrity and moving with the pain that I loved.
It is hard to put down, well worth your time and your credits. Enjoy!
I would rank Ordinary Grace in the top 10.
I immediately thought of Stand by Me as the book centers around the life of a young boy on the verge of coming of age. I liked the fact that the story was told by Frank as an adult reflecting on a summer that would change his life forever.
A connection and understanding of the characters. The calmness in the Father's voice, the frustration that Jake had with his stuttering, the mother's indifference.
For each of us there is a point in which our lives change forever. For Frank it was the summer he turned 13.
I really connected to the characters and what they were each going through. I liked how the author showed how one event affect each character differently. It was well written.
Everything! I was thoroughly engaged from the first sentence. I'm selecting it for my book discussion group.
I'd have to say the narrator's father was my favorite character. He seems completely believable and admirable.
I thought the reader performed all the characters equally well, but my favorite would have to be the boy/narrator.
Think life was easier in a small town in the twentieth century? Think again...
Ordinary Grace is extraordinary, and unforgettable!
An enjoyable quasi-murder mystery, quasi-Bildungsroman set along a river and railroad in a rural Minnesota community in the summer of 1961. With its 14-year-old preacher's son as protagonist, this tale called in me reflections upon growing up and how the mind either magnifies or trivializes the memories of our youth. It caused me to also contemplate the role of religion in coming of age, the bonds between siblings, and, to a somewhat lesser degree, white's relations with American Indians, racism, suicide and bigotry toward those who are "different," specifically, based on deafness, race, sexuality, blindness, and physical deformities.
In other words, the book is loaded, but in a good way.
The narration was perfect.
A wonderful coming of age story and a perfect narrator to read it. One of my favorite audio books of the year. This is a story of community and family, beautifully written. Kleenex may be needed.
I liked the idea of a 1960's coming-of-age story mixed with a mystery. The problem is that this novel did not succeed in either of those areas. Very little happened in the first half of the novel. References to Brillcream, Risk, and Gunsmoke were not enough to make that golden era of childhood come alive, and I am from that generation! The characters and world were not interesting enough for that to work without more plot. Frank is the 13 year-old protagonist, who lives with a younger brother who stutters (and gets bullied), an older sister, and his parents, a minister, and a mother unhappy being the wife of a minister. The big mystery occurs halfway through the novel, when a major character disappears. The story picked up at that point. It moved from a 2-star to a 3-star book then. A good reader helped, too. This novel felt like something I had read many times in the past. I might have liked it more had it seemed fresher to me. Ultimately, it did provide a pleasant way to pass the time, but not much more.
Well written and totally captivating. While I have enjoyed the Cork O'Connor series this is my favorite William Kent Krueger novel. Orlow's reading of the book made it even more interesting.
I stumbled across this book and I'm so glad I listened. I enjoyed all aspects - the unfolding of the story, the relationship of the 2 brothers, their father's calm steadiness. The narrator did an excellent job in bringing out the characters. I even looked him up on audible to check out other books he narrated. I highly recommend this book.