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Ordinary Grace Audiobook

Ordinary Grace

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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

4.3 (4587 )
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4.5 (4196 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    cristina Somerville, MA, United States 10-04-15
    cristina Somerville, MA, United States 10-04-15 Member Since 2017
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    "Excellent"

    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.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Delman San Francisco 12-04-16
    Richard Delman San Francisco 12-04-16 Member Since 2017

    I am a 67 year old psychologist. I have been married for 28 years, with two sons who are 27 and 24. I love listening to the books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A mystery that is no mystery."
    What did you like best about Ordinary Grace? What did you like least?

    Mr. Krueger can write, and the narrator can read. I have enjoyed Krueger's work for a long time, particularly the series that features Cork O'Connor. However, this book is a stand-alone, and it is disappointing. You can name Ariel's killer very quickly after she is killed, and you can also see the straw man immediately.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I would have changed quite a bit about the family. Not to be anti-religious, as religion is one of the strongest aspects of the people in this town. But the father, Nathan, is a preacher, and IMHO too much preaching pads the book. Nonetheless, the characters of the two boys are engaging, and the narrator is strong and convincing.


    What aspect of Rich Orlow’s performance would you have changed?

    Not much. The material he is given is not Mr. Krueger's best, and Mr. Orlow does the best he can with it.


    Could you see Ordinary Grace being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    I don't like this book enough to do that particular exercise.


    Any additional comments?

    Try reading one of the books in the Cork O'Connor series. He is a very well-drawn character, and the plots of the books, while sometimes light on the mystery front, are well-written, and one comes to feel that O'Connor might be someone you know.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Pontiflet Fairfield, CA USA 03-17-15
    R. Pontiflet Fairfield, CA USA 03-17-15 Member Since 2015

    retired writer

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    "Beyond Ordinary ~ Coming of Age Murder Mystery"

    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.

    8 of 11 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.

    29 of 42 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janna Wong Healy Los Angeles, CA 12-07-16
    Janna Wong Healy Los Angeles, CA 12-07-16 Member Since 2013

    I've spent my entire life around the written word - writing it, editing it, teaching it. So, it's no wonder I also love to read it!

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    "Nice Little Coming-of-Age Story"

    This book is a gentle treatise on love and forgiveness, wrapped in a coming-of-age adventure. It's a fairly simple story and somewhat predictable but I can see why many compare it to a distaff version of To Kill a Mockingbird. It's told from the point of view of a preteen boy named Frankie whose father is a wise and kindly minister. During the summer of 1961, Frankie recounts five different deaths that occurred and how they affected him and his family.

    It's filled to the brim with atmosphere and interesting characters and the overall theme is engaging. It's not the best book I've ever read but the author created characters I cared about and it kept my interest till the end.

    The narrator did a nice job representing the cadence of the area but I found that some of his voices sounded similar to each other so it was sometimes difficult to distinguish characters. Still, he is clear and easy to understand.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L 12-01-16
    L 12-01-16
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    ""was like....""
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    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.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kate Willette Bellevue WA, USA 11-26-16
    Kate Willette Bellevue WA, USA 11-26-16 Member Since 2008
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    "Terrible writing. Truly, I mean terrible."
    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    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!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meg 09-10-16
    Meg 09-10-16

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Average and predictable"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jan 03-05-15
    Jan 03-05-15 Member Since 2011

    Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.

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    "Not ordinary at all - -"

    Missed this book when it first came out, so glad I found it. It's told in the voice of Frank Drum...an adult looking back at 1961, the summer he was 13... a small town preacher's son figuring out who he is and what he believes... as the town reels from multiple deaths.

    This book has the feel of Enger's "Peace Like a River," Grisham's "A Painted House," Burns' "Cold Sassy Tree" and"Doig's "The Whistling Season" ... all books I loved. It's rich with people I have met, dealing with the imperfections of their own and others... of families falling apart and growing stronger.

    There is real life and hard topics addressed as seen through Franks young mind. My kids wouldn't have been ready for this at 13 at all... more like 16 up... bit of sexual content, bit of swearing, lots of loss and complicated relationships... but so uplifting. I'll be back to listen again.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Talechaser 08-29-15
    Talechaser 08-29-15

    Talechaser

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Boiler-plate box-ticker"
    What disappointed you about Ordinary Grace?

    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.


    What could William Kent Krueger have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Nothing. It's irredeemable. If I hadn't paid so much for it, I wouldn't have let it run so long.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    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.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Nope


    Any additional comments?

    New-age Christians will love it.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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