Ordinary Grace

Ordinary Grace

A Novel

Book - 2013
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"That was it. That was all of it. A grace so ordinary there was no reason at all to remember it. Yet I have never across the forty years since it was spoken forgotten a single word."

New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were selling out at the soda counter of Halderson's Drugstore, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms. Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder.

Frank begins the season preoccupied with the concerns of any teenage boy, but when tragedy unexpectedly strikes his family--which includes his Methodist minister father; his passionate, artistic mother; Juilliard-bound older sister; and wise-beyond-his-years kid brother--he finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal, suddenly called upon to demonstrate a maturity and gumption beyond his years.

Told from Frank's perspective forty years after that fateful summer, Ordinary Grace is a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.
Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Atria Books, 2013
Edition: 1st Atria Books hardcover ed. --
ISBN: 9781451645828
Characteristics: 307 p


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Nov 11, 2017

A friend recommended this book to me. When I checked it out and saw that it was classified as "Mystery", I almost didn't start it, as I personally don't care too much for that genre. What a mistake it would have been if I hadn't read it. Previous reviewers have lavished praise more adequately than I can, but I will say that it made an impression on me. Like one of the reviewers, as I was reading it, I also noted the resemblance between the father, Nathan Drum, and Atticus Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird". The last half of the book is full of surprises, physically and emotionally. It reinforces my faith in "Ordinary Grace".

Oct 23, 2017

"Ordinary Grace" is on my personal Best List for 2017. The tone, pace, and place in time was reminiscent of "To Kill A Mockingbird," and the Methodist minister father figure was Atticus Finch with a clerical collar.

Librarian_Deb Aug 28, 2017

A 13 year old boy in a small town in Minnesota in 1961 should have had a carefree summer, full of trips to the swimming hold and drugstore for a root beer. But Frank Drum's summer turns out to be anything but carefree. It begins with the death of a fellow class mate, then the death of a homeless drifter. Frank's father is a minister and Frank and his younger brother Jake tag along as he conducts funeral services, visits troubled families, and bails his church janitor out of jail. Frank knows something strange is going on with his older sister, who has been sneaking out of the house late at night. It isn't until another death - this one much closer to home - strikes his family that the truth begins to be revealed. And when it is it causes the entire family to have a crisis of faith.
In a way this book plays out like a mystery story, since there are some unexplained deaths and the reader is naturally curious as to how they happened. But really that is very secondary to the main meat of the story, which is the people in the Drum family who are wrestling with some terrible tragedies and revelations. Rarely does a murder story show you the reality of what people touched by unexpected death have to struggle with, but this one does. Frank's father in particular, as a minister, struggles to reconcile the death of a loved one with his faith in a loving God. Frank himself struggles with doubts about whether or not God is really there, while his mother lashes out at God--and at Frank's father. Meanwhile, the younger brother Jake maintains a childlike faith that helps to bring the story to a satisfying conclusion. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fiction that goes beyond the surface and makes you think about life's bigger picture.

Aug 22, 2017

One of the best books I've read in a long time. This was my first book by this author, and I absolutely loved his writing style. I seriously could not put this book down. Beautiful story. Highly recommend it.

Aug 04, 2017

One of the reviewers called this book "Pitch-perfect." I agree. Krueger's descriptive prose are evocative and relatable. The pace neither hurries nor speeds; it is relentless and gripping, though, as you yearn for the final revelation of truth and understanding.
I also appreciated this book because, while the inclusion of characters of Christian faith was vital to the telling of this story, Krueger didn't make them stereotypical. The vast majority of writers portray believers with saccharine sweetness, unrelatable piety, or surface commitment. Krueger's believers and doubters are viewed realistically as honest or angry, but not with cynical disbelief. (That might be because the book's characters live in a small town and not in a more impersonal big city.)

Jun 15, 2017

It has been reviewed eloquently by others so I need not try to improve upon that. I would say however, although I have yet to read Krueger's mystery series, if you are looking for another "mystery novel" I do not consider this to fit that genre. By the same token, if you are looking for a strictly "religious experience" it is not as preachy as the title may lead you to believe.

It is a lovely blend of both so it kept me engaged, and the best part, it made me reflect on things that I would possibly not have had I not read this book.

May 14, 2017

I could not put this book down. I have to think that Mark Twain would have felt the same reading Ordinary Grace.

Mar 22, 2017

Wonderful story of unconditional love and forgiveness.

Feb 22, 2017

Just finished this novel and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Such amazing character development and fantastic storylines. This was a difficult book to put down. I was immediately drawn to this book by the cover and description and so glad i read this.

Jan 19, 2017

Excellent book that combines a coming of age story with a murder mystery. Well plotted, excellent character development, beautiful writing. So evocative that I was in tears several times. The first of this author's works that I've read. I will certainly read more!

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booklady413 Aug 21, 2015

"The dead are never far from us. They're in our hearts and on our minds and in the end all that separates us from them is a single breath, one final puff of air." Page 307

PimaLib_LisaW May 06, 2015

“He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain, which cannot forget, falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”
William Kent Krueger, Ordinary Grace.


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May 21, 2013

Ordinary Grace is a stand alone novel by William Kent Krueger, author of the Cork O'Connor mystery series. Told through the eyes of a 13 year-old boy, the book details the struggles of faith of a rural Methodist minister and his family when their talented daughter if found dead. The story details the passage from childhood innocence to worldly awareness by the 13 yo and his younger brother. Once again the author demonstrates his sensitivity in spiritual matters.

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