Award-winning author William Kent Krueger has gained an immense fan base for his Cork O’Connor series. In Ordinary Grace, Krueger looks back to 1961 to tell the story of Frank Drum, a boy on the cusp of manhood. A typical 13-year-old with a strong, loving family, Frank is devastated when a tragedy forces him to face the unthinkable - and to take on a maturity beyond his years.
©2013 William Kent Krueger (P)2013 Recorded Books
“Krueger aims higher and hits harder with a stand-alone novel that shares much with his other work.” (Kirkus Reviews)
I don't usually rush out for all the "best sellers", but give each intriguing book/author a look. I have found many diamonds in the rough.
A triple mystery and a tragedy that surround a Minnesota family in 1961. A Methodist minister, a Mother who does her best to give her children every opportunity, a beautiful young Daughter getting ready to set off on her own and two young Brothers who are best buddies and full of angst. They live in a small town where everyone knows everyone's business and the mysterious death of a young boy sets all in motion.
This story is a mind provoking reminder of how everything that happens shapes and changes our lives no matter how good or bad, small or large...... Some occurrences change us drastically over night, those life altering changes that none of us, fortunately/unfortunately, are immune too.
The author and narrator made this a wonderful listening experience. This was the first Krueger book I have listened to and it was a touching, rich, beautifully written story. Wonderful to see this story through the eyes of a young man on the verge of manhood and all of the revelations that come along with that metamorphosis.
Rich Orlow does a wonderful job with all the voices of a wide assortment of characters. His pace and timing are right on. One of the better ones in my opinion and I will look for him in other works.
A great mystery. All things have their time: birth, death and rebirth.
The "old fashioned" ideas about faith and kindness that run throughout this story might not appeal to all, but the story is great. The writing is excellent. The characters come to life in a way that makes you miss them when they're gone. I thoroughly enjoyed it and just downloaded one of the mystery series for which the author is really know. Since even the author says that Ordinary Grace was a total departure for him, I am probably going to be disappointed by the mystery, but I am loathe to leave Mr. Krueger behind. Rich Orlow does a phenomenal job reading this story.
This remarkable coming of age story is told by 13 year-old Frank Drum. The story moves at a steady and consistent pace. It held my attention until the very end. The story reminded me of "To Kill A Mockingbird" in many ways as it deals with life issues which are impacted by issues of morality or immorality. Frank's father is the town's Preacher so the story has teaching moments throughout. The overall story has a bit of racism, some mental health issues, and religious activities. My favorite scenes were where Frank would hang around corners eavesdropping on adult conversations. The story is well written and well narrated. I recommend.
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.
I agree with the reviewer who criticized the amount of similes and metaphors. I know this sounds petty, but so much good solid writing yields to things like "the silence was like angels" and "night was like the dark of your soul" and "as hot as the pavement below our feet". The reason it merits criticism is that the amount of similes and metaphors is overwhelming, distracting --and finally, amusing. Every few sentences the narrator pauses and I laugh, saying the next words right along with him: "...it was just like a ..." and it's pulling me out of the story.
I got this yesterday and within an hour of listening I knew it was a mistake. The praise for this ridiculously bad writing is depressing. This book could serve in classrooms where new writers learn what not to do -- it's all there. Cliches on every page, clunky sentences, wooden characters, descriptions so broad they're meaningless, and -- my favorite -- sad attempts to make it a page-turner.
There would be three more deaths!
The next death would be the worst!
I saw this book described as a "coming of age" story and I suppose it is that. However, I felt like I was listening to a poor copy of other authors' more engaging and more original "coming of age" stories. The result is that I felt like I was ingesting a twinkie instead of the cheesecake I was hoping for.
This book is well written. But I feel that the content, conflicts, and themes have been done to death in so many other books that this book just didn't do anything for me. I can certainly understand it's appeal to others, but I felt bored by it.
The narration is well done.
I was disappointed by the entirely predictable plot and the unlikely characters. We have the Atticus Finch type father who apparently regrets doing his bit in the war (all former soldiers in this story are deeply scarred), the 'Holy child' brother and the early teens narrator with his 21st-century social values plonked into 1961 smalltown USA, with the occasional glance up at Stand By Me. Then there's the parade of falsely accused suspects drawn from the liberal box-ticker catalogue winding up with a smug veil of forgiveness for the guilty party, telegraphed from fairly early on in the story. There's hardly a single liberal trope left unploughed. The dialogue is wooden and the characters are cardboard saints. It's got the feel of something written by an ageing hippy whose recollection of 1961 is largely reconstructed from a wish list.
Nothing. It's irredeemable. If I hadn't paid so much for it, I wouldn't have let it run so long.
I spent most of the audiobook thinking there was a character called "Emo". Apparently this is Midwestern pronounciation for "Emil", so it's legit, but a bit confusing. Otherwise, narration was OK.
New-age Christians will love it.
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.
Rich Orlow does a wonderful job in his telling of this tragic summer in the life of a minister's family. Two boys become men, when too many deaths seem to be connected and when one strikes their own, secrets become unraveled and suspects abound. Frank tells the story of how his family copes, each in their own way, as he deals with having maybe made too many wrong choices putting peoples lives at risk.
A tale of suspense, murder, growing up, humor, and love. For fans of Cork O'Conner, this story is sure to please, as Krueger works his magic of words, keeping interest until the very last page.
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