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Ordinary Grace | [William Kent Krueger]

Ordinary Grace

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

“Krueger aims higher and hits harder with a stand-alone novel that shares much with his other work.” (Kirkus Reviews)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (795 )
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4.4 (706 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Alison Washington, DC, United States 01-28-14
    Alison Washington, DC, United States 01-28-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Solid Coming of Age Tale"
    What did you love best about Ordinary Grace?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 01-22-14
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 01-22-14 Member Since 2008

    Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The summer of '61!"

    This audiobook is a solid 4 1/2 star accomplishment--wonderful story, excellent narration. It takes place in Minnesota during the fateful summer of 1961 and is narrated by a 13 year old boy. You could call it a coming of age story but it is so much more. It is a family-oriented tale involving a minister, his wife (who has not come to terms with marrying a man who subsequently became a minister), and their teenage daughter and two younger sons, age 13 and 11. There is a great deal of townsfolk involvement in the family's life and in their story.

    l am not a religious person. Although religion plays a strong role in this story, it is not shoved down your throat and seems to work very well with the plot. This story has alot of angst and sadness, but there is also a great deal of love shining through to make it seem like there is hope for recovery in the end. For me, this story is somewhat reminiscent of the Ivan Doig novels, which I have greatly enjoyed. There is a very informative interview with the author at the end of the audiobook.

    This beautiful story is highly recommended! Don't miss it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Conaghan Olathe, Ks 01-08-14
    S. Conaghan Olathe, Ks 01-08-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Great author and Great reader"
    Where does Ordinary Grace rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It is up there at the very top.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It revolved around a family and the people in the town and also it had mystery in it too.
    I really liked the family.


    What does Rich Orlow bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Oh Rich Orlow's voice! This was a great story, but with Rich Orlow reading it, I was mesmerized. I stayed up all through the night listening to him. I could not quit listening to him. Now I am reviewing other books he has narrated. Just listen to him and you will also be addicted to his voice.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, it was. It was approx 10 hour book. I have never listened to a book that long. It was an all nighter and part of the morning. I had the luxury of not working today so I could finishing listening to Rich Orlow's engaging voice.


    Any additional comments?

    Be sure to listen to this book. You won't regret it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim Hall 11-22-13
    Jim Hall 11-22-13 Member Since 2013

    closed captioner

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    "A gem of a story, extremely well told"
    If you could sum up Ordinary Grace in three words, what would they be?

    Engrossing, nostalgic, and well-written. But just three words don't really do this fine novel justice.


    What other book might you compare Ordinary Grace to and why?

    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.


    What does Rich Orlow bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    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.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 08-06-13
    Jennifer Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 08-06-13 Member Since 2011

    Jennifer B.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Almost perfect"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jaybird Kouch Frontenac, mn United States 04-12-13
    Jaybird Kouch Frontenac, mn United States 04-12-13 Member Since 2014

    kiska doozer

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "great listen & great story"

    Have loved all of William Kent Krueger's books. This one was no exception. The end is predictable but getting there was exquisite. It is a good lesson in keeping hope & faith while undergoing very difficult personal tragedy. Title choice was right on.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 06-08-13
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 06-08-13 Member Since 2010

    Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.

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    "Very Ordinary"

    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.

    10 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Bartonville, TX 04-14-13
    Susan Bartonville, TX 04-14-13 Member Since 2012

    Myst/thrillers and ✨fun fantasies✨are my favorites but always open for a good story.  

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    "Beautifully written....Wow"
    Any additional comments?

    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. 

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melinda UT 01-03-15
    Melinda UT 01-03-15 Member Since 2009
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    "Charming, Bittersweet, Pure Pleasure"

    “It was a summer in which death, in visitation, assumed many forms. Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder. I still spend a lot of time thinking about the events of that summer. About the terrible price of wisdom. The awful grace of God.”

    Frank Drum begins his story, looking back over forty years to this fateful summer in 1961 when he was 13 yrs. old. The story is immediately familiar and the nostalgia consuming. Krueger writes poetically, creating an idyllic summer so vividly the years tick backwards. For many it will recall that well-known coming of age through tragedy, Stephen King's The Body (movie: Stand By Me). There are similarities, but Krueger's story is a murder mystery tucked into a gentle and sweet tale, focused on family, small town secrets, and spiritual struggles, more than the physical threats of big brothers, dead bodies, and junk-yard dogs.

    In addition to being a New York Times Bestseller, Ordinary Grace recently won the 2014 Edgar Award For Best Novel, the 2014 Dilys Award, and has been selected as a *School Library Journal Best Book Of 2013. I'm not familiar with the author's Cork O'Connor series and can't speak to any comparison, but I found this book completely charming and captivating. Krueger's ability to create a soothing kindness through his choice of words, even in the midst of violence, death, and some (mild) sexual encounters, is remarkable. The novel deals with a multitude of *delicate* issues with frankness and compassion instead of sensationalism. Moments like the Reverend's sermon after a death (I won't spoil it by divulging the victim) are healing balms, so beautifully written they are all the *church* you could hope for.

    There are some stereotypes and clichés, some sentimentality, but it all seems fresh and original, they are so well used, and so much a part of the period. You may see the ending coming, may figure out the murderer, may even question little brother Jake's keen insight, but any concerns are lost in the overall beauty and grace of this novel. It may not be the block buster everyone is talking about, but for me it was a pure pleasure reading this novel; one of my favorites of 2014.

    **The School Library Journal is a monthly magazine with articles and reviews for school librarians, media specialists, and public librarians who work with young people. They have this book listed as an "Adult Books 4 Teens." I would say use your own discretion.

    9 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paula Overland Park, KS USA 10-10-14
    Paula Overland Park, KS USA 10-10-14 Member Since 2012

    Enjoying one good listen after the next!

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    "Ordinary Grace is an Extraordinary Story"

    In some ways this is a "coming of age-coming to Jesus story"; but it is much more too. Circa 1961, a preacher's kid encounters personal losses and moral decisions that prove to be too much for a twelve year old boy.

    This is an enormously satisfying story of a family and community that is at once ordinary and yet very unusual. Discrimination against Native Americans and those handicapped is visceral and leads to behaviors and decisions that create enormous hurts. The mystery of three deaths, all on or near the river are central to the story.

    In the end, a young boy and his brother are faced with grave, all consuming decisions that will shape their lives forever.

    The narration is superb, the story engaging and awe-inspiring.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
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