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 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.
In the library of your mind, if you browse through the nostalgic coming-of-age shelf, you will find Ordinary Grace somewhere between "A River Runs Through It" and "Stand By Me."
William Krueger's writing style is true to the title, as he rewards his readers with graceful prose and stunning imagery in this "slice of life" as told through the eyes of a man looking back 40 years on the timeline of his life.
The story is one of a small town pastor and his family as their love is challenged by loss, personal secrets, and a murder mystery that serves as the overall catalyst for peace among them.
The narrator was born to read this story.
This is a smooth read that kind of just floats along. It's not thrilling or suspenseful, and it's not a page turner..but you will keep turning the pages.
a book of internal thoughts by the son of a minister. plot = typical life events that are only new to the very sheltered. could be supportive for children going through loss. unsatisfying for thoughtful adults.
#1 Aud Bks: T Help,T Darling, All D Sedaris,Prayer for Owen M.All G Flynn ,Secrt Lang of Bees, Bel Canto, 11/22/63 H2O fr Elephants Dog Star
Other reviewers do this book justice. I am not one to usually figure out who-done-its, but I could see a lot of plot twists coming, if not a mile away, at least a quarter mile away.
A little slow for some tastes, but the narrator is excellent, which made it worth it.
One plot spoiler:
As a gay man, I feel a responsibility to point out that, yet again, the one gay character commits suicide. Yes , it was the early 60's in small town Minnesota but this is fiction. It could have been different. And, I could see it coming a mlle away.
Yes, I would definitely listen to this again just to experience his lyrical prose . I can only say that this author writes in a way that brings every character to life, and makes the reader feel exactly what the character is feeling. What an amazing gift!
Jake. I think deep down we all have a little of Jake in us.
Never, but he is a narrator of exceptional talent.
Frank, as he was the main protagonist.
I am now going to start listening to all the Cork O'Conner books! Bravo, Mr. Kent Krueger!
The depth of character development and the themes explored are worth the investment of time.
The themes that are explored are universal in life. The author has a deft touch in exploring these themes and is in touch with the emotions they evoke.
I laughed and cried at the beauty of the words and the depth of exploration.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to explore forgiveness and grace. The author knows this subject not just intellectually but personally.
A librarian who loves to read, whether in print or in the air
More than just a mystery, this coming of age novel examines how people respond so differently when tragedy strikes a small community. While a little slow paced, and not the best at making the mystery a real mystery, the book captures a particular time and place very well, and the ways in which God' grace is present in people's lives
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.
This was an interesting and rewarding read. The preacher and his family were real people with the same problems as the rest of the world. The struggles of the boys reflected the issue we face either as children or adults. The question is what are you going to do with the consequences of your decisions.
I loved this coming of age story. Told in retrospect... A man recalls the tragic events of one summer of his boyhood that would forever alter the man he was to become. Not a fast paced book but a book to savor. Reminds me somewhat of "Prince of Tides" by Pat Conroy... also one of my favorite books.
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