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)
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.
I like that the story was told by Frankie, from a kids perspective, his opinions about adults and his reluctance to call out an adult, when they so deserved it. I loved the father, loved that we was human and did not give up on people. I loved how Frankie grew up over the course of this book. I loved how Frankie saw the greatest in Jake and not the superficial stuff.
The Shack, I read both books purely by coincidence during Easter Week, different years and both had such Ordinary Grace about Living, Death, choices we make in life.
No, but I would like to listen to another one of his books, I found his voice calming and easy to listened to.
Frankie's fathers sermon the day after his own tragedy. A Murder Mystery with profound insight.
My book club members loved this book.
Probably, the reader does a great job of differentiating characters without distracting from the story
I enjoyed the 60's time frame being 60+ myself, and the compassionate way this story addresses everything from religion, sexuality, issues of physical appearance, impediments, family and marriage issues, friendships, and coming of age issues.
Persnickety, curmudgeonly, locked into a long daily commute which is mitigated somewhat by listening to great books.
I read Ordinary Grace because I liked the Cork O'Connor series of novels and especially enjoyed the infusion of native American mysticism in those novels. Ordinary Grace is a different sort of book. If it was a movie it would be called a drama. Women will enjoy this book - some men too, of course. It is not the kind of book you would expect to come from a guy who wrote so many detective novels.
OK, so that said, it is a novel of deep sensitivity and well developed plot. The themes are strong and characters well developed.
Yes, but I would hope for something more like Cork O'Connor series.
Variety...the spice of life! I read a variety of genres. From historical fiction, to murder mystery, to vampires and on to teen fiction.
This story has a setting near Mankato, Minnesota in the 1960's (where I grew up). Krueger steps out of his Cork O'Connor series to write in a bit of a different style here and it doesn't disappoint in the least bit. This story tells the tale (though it could be true) through the eyes of a adolescent boy which offers an interesting and nostalgic perspective that couldn't be achieved by writing it from someone else's perspective. Frank is the son of a Methodist preacher. He is trying to grow up in Southern, MN in the 1960's. As many of us can relate to, there can be a lot of heartaches that go along with that. But for Frankie, it becomes a whole different ballgame of things to deal with besides the normal situations of growing up. There's the issues with each family member (which I won't give away any spoilers) as well as community members. There is also unfortunately a summer of "death" as the reader will state in the beginning of the book (so no spoilers there). You'll quickly become engrossed with the story and you'll relate so well to the boy's telling of it that you won't want to stop listening. The reader does a great job in his performance as well. I hope that Krueger writes another like this, though I love his other series too!
The story will captivate you while pulling at your heart-strings all at once.
Good storyline and easy to listen to narration, the characters with diverse flaws are described as the story entails loss, hope, and faith each deals with limitations, and circumstances detailed throughout the story from the perspective of a young boy and younger brother. You can relate to the Drum family & characters of a small town's experiences with understanding.
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.
and a penny for your thoughts
I am shocked by the five-star reviews on this book. I have not read the authors previous books so I can only speak about this one when I say his writing style is juvenile and almost laughable at times. He try's too hard to The extreme overuse of similes is distracting. I felt he was trying to be profound rather than just telling an honest story. I read a lot and I have never read an author so self-indulgent.
There wasn't much plot which normally wouldn't be a problem for me. I like character analysis but these characters were uninteresting and overly simplistic, almost caricatures. There were so many physical handicaps in that small town I began to wonder about incest.
The reader was OK. I think he did the best he could with the material.
I do not recommend this book unless you can borrow it from a friend or get it for a $1.95. I happened to get this on the daily special but I would be sorely disappointed if I had used one of my credits.
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.
"Far from an Ordinary Thriller"
Yes I would happily recommend this novel. It's extremely well written with good quality characterisations that hold your interest and really make you care about what happens to each of them.
The over-whelming impact on the Drum family of the various incidents that unfold. Tremendous writing.
Sensitively read and nothing 'over the top' which would have ruined the delicate balance of this novel
The burden put onto the father of the Drum family. I'm not a believer in the religious sense and at times it could have been so easy to feel an edge of impatience taking over, but it's so well written that finally I just couldn't fail to be moved by his stoicism.
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this novel. The descriptive passages devoted to both the locations, era and characters made it a memorable experience. There are no particularly gripping moments or shocking revelations here but taken as a 'whole' this is a murder mystery that will not fail to grip you and will stay with you long after you've finished it. For me, that's the test of a good book.
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