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Ordinary Grace

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4.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  28,370 Ratings  ·  4,419 Reviews
“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 main ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published March 26th 2013 by Atria Books (first published 2013)
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James Thane
Apr 01, 2013 James Thane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
At the beginning of the summer of 1961, Frank Drum is thirteen years old and living in the small community of New Bremen, Minnesota. It's a summer that will change his life forever, and his story, told from Frank's perspective forty years later, will resonate with readers for a very long time.

Ordinary Grace is a stand-alone from William Kent Krueger, an author best known for his Cork O'Connor mystery series. But this is not a crime novel in the traditional sense, although a number of crimes are
...more
Christine
Jun 15, 2015 Christine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I feel bad for the next book I plan to read, because Ordinary Grace is a very hard act to follow.

This book is very different from the author’s Cork O’Connor mystery series. Mr. Krueger wrote Ordinary Grace from his heart. He has said that writing it was easier than any other novel he has written before, and he feels it is the best piece of writing he has ever done. This is the fourth book in the last year and a half that made me cry, and the second that was written by William Kent Krueger. I wis
...more
Candi
Sep 02, 2015 Candi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I adored this book. It stirred so many emotions within me, and for that I have to give it 5 stars. It is a wonderful coming-of-age story, complete with a small-town atmosphere and a mystery surrounding the quiet, unassuming community of New Bremen, Minnesota. We are told on the very first page that “It was a summer in which death, in visitation, assumed many forms.” But, this book is about much more than just the mystery; it is a story about friendship, brotherhood, family dynamics and bonds, de ...more
Kelli
Oct 25, 2015 Kelli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-fiction
I woke up in the middle of the night a week after finishing this story with a single word. I didn't write it down and try as I may, I can't quite get it back. Nonetheless, it is a good book that picks at your brain as you sleep. Having read my friends' reviews already, I feel there is little I can add and for that reason I will keep my review very brief.

This is a gorgeous story of discovery, both tangible and intangible, told in a languid manner that is reminiscent of the days that it describes.
...more
Suzanne
Probably more 3.5 stars.

This was a lovely book. I think many people will love it very much. I have my effervescent Goodreads friend Christine to thank for guiding me to this one, we both decided to read a book that both of us have loved, and it just happened to fit in at the same time for each of us. This was a brilliant idea, I’d recommend it.

My peculiar quirks do not suit all genres, I have learnt only just today. A book that is to be savoured and really pleasantly enjoyed and meandered throu
...more
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Jun 21, 2013 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of small town drama and coming of age stories
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Most of my friends
When the majority of your friends love a book that you didn't do you find yourself second guessing? Searching for that magic that everyone else felt and you missed? I won’t bore you by analyzing this to death (view spoiler) Worth reading and a solid 3 stars, ordinary rather than extraordinary.

Circa 1960’s told through the eyes of 13 yr old Frank Drum a series of deaths disrupt the lives of everyone
...more
Bill
Oct 20, 2015 Bill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5.0 STARS!

Warning: Reader discretion is advised. This book contains sweet, sirenically addictive prose that can warm your heart, flood your eyes with tears and induce a deeply meditative state in which the reader ignores time and place to ponder nostalgically the enchanting, soothing, carefree days of youth. Various psychiatric studies have determined that literature of this nature can result in higher levels of affective empathy, compassion, understanding, emotional perception, prosocial beha
...more
Stephanie
Jun 24, 2015 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished-2015
I really enjoyed Ordinary Grace !

It is a well-written coming of age / mystery that was charming and kept me turning pages. It was not an edge of your seat thriller...

The details of small-town life in MN in the early 1960's was very interesting and definitely kept my attention. Very sad parts offset by hope. I read this because it was a BOTM for one of my groups and I am so happy that I did!

I would recommend this book to people who would like to read a mystery, but are not expecting gut-churni
...more
Andrew Smith
Nov 23, 2015 Andrew Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It feels like I’m the last person on Goodreads to get to this book! There are thousands of reviews on this site, so I’ll limit my comments to my views on my experience of listening to the audiobook, which was superbly read by Rich Orlow.

The first thing I’d say is that it started really slowly and for quite a while I really didn’t think I’d like it. In fact, I’d rate the first section of this book only 3 stars. My second observation is that by the midway point I was convinced I’d worked it all ou
...more
Jen
Jul 27, 2015 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ordinary Grace was an extraordinary read. It is set in the deep heat of the summer in 1961, in a small town of New Bremen, Minnesota where the story takes place for Frank and his family. It's a summer of death and darkness but also one of miracles and love. This is a story of relationships, of heartache and heartbreak. It is also about what happens when a family is pulled apart and is healed through the 'awful grace of God'. What an understated read with so many powerful messages. 5 stars.
Dem
Jun 01, 2013 Dem rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


Ordinary Grace, a novel by William Kent Krueger is a beautiful and engaging novel and it certainly worked its magic on me. This is a short novel and it certainly proves good goods comes in small parcels.

Set in New Bremen, Minnesota in 1961. It was a time of innocence a hope for a country with a new young president. But for a thirteen year old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms. Accident, nature, suicide and murder. Told from Franks perspectiv
...more
Algernon
Jul 23, 2016 Algernon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
[9/10]

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.

The words of the ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus resonate just as strongly as they did twenty-five centuries ago, defining the year 1961, in the small town of New Bremen, Minessota. The one who has to pay 'the terrible price of wisdom' is thirteen years old Frank Drum, over the hot months
...more
Trudi

A couple of things brought me to this book:

1) A stellar review from trusted GR friend James.

2) Its recent Edgar Award for Best Novel.

3) Last but not least, the author's blog post entitled: God Bless Librarians. In case you didn't know, flattery will get you everywhere, and it just might make me read your book (joking! I'm really not that shallow or vain, I promise; I just thought it was a nice post).

This is a beautiful book that hits a lot of my kinks: small towns, seeecrets, family drama, and c
...more
Jenna
3.5 Stars

I don't like so much when I am in the minority of rating a book, but I suppose that I am this time. Ordinary Grace is a coming of age book about a twelve-year-old boy named Frank who's curiosity for life and the happenings around him exposes the nastiness in the world to him a little too soon.

Because I just made a big move and have had my head in boxes for the past two weeks, I unfortunately have not been able to enjoy reading a book as I usually do. Due to these circumstances, I bought
...more
Rex Fuller
Aug 14, 2013 Rex Fuller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This feels like part memoir and part meditation and hardly at all like a novel. Although so far as I know the author does not say so anywhere, the sense that what happens is deeply personal runs through every page. Just over the first fifty percent of it brings you to affection for the characters and solving the murder of one of them occupies the remainder. Even though it works very well as a mystery, reading it only that way misses the mark. It is much more the study of faith and hope in the fa ...more
Elyse
May 26, 2014 Elyse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I FULLY enjoyed this glorious reading experience!!!

Frank's narration captures this entire page-turning-mystery-novel profoundly intimate.

Irresistible!!!!

I loved it -- I loved it -- I loved it!!
Carol
Loved it from beginning to end! A fast-paced coming-of-age mystery set in 1961 that kept me glued to the book. Highly recommend!
Carol
May 09, 2013 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
As I sat down to write my feelings about this book I had to ask myself "What do I want from you, the reader"? The answer: I'd like you to read this book and yet I wonder if I'm going to entice you.

Can an experienced, older narrator view the past with more wisdom than he might have possessed forty years earlier the summer he was thirteen? Ordinary Grace and another book I recently read Last Summer of the Camperdowns both study long ago events in childhood from the adult perspective. The latter is
...more
Brenda
Sep 05, 2015 Brenda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read Krueger's entire Cork O'Connor series, and this stand alone is so different that I forgot who the author was. Small town life in 1961 means kids walk alone to anywhere, ride with non-family adults without concern for safety, and play outside without supervision until dark. But this was a summer of death for residents of this village, and yet a summer of growth for two brothers. The characters felt real with each having strengths and weaknesses, baggage and dreams. I loved the epilogue ...more
Karen
Aug 21, 2015 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book from beginning to end!!! Loved the preacher, his family, and his friend Gus. Loved the relationship between the brothers of this family.
I was kept wondering throughout what the ending would be....very good...
Tom Mathews
Oct 30, 2015 Tom Mathews rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tom by: Christine
So far this year I have read two books that deal primarily with the subject of grief at the loss of a family member. The first was Everything I Never Told You, and now, thanks to the vigorous encouragement of friends such as Christine and the enigmatic E., Ordinary Grace, by William Kent Krueger, an author I have long wanted to read but haven’t gotten around to.

Both books were easy five-star books and were very similar in ways that I could go into if I wanted to risk dropping spoilers, which I
...more
Cathrine ☯
Oct 06, 2015 Cathrine ☯ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoughts from a small book club.

If you read the GR book description, this review does not contain spoilers. If you are planning on reading the book and have not read that blurb, I suggest you go into it without their helpful overview since I reference it here.

What I said:
3.75
I was left feeling just a bit unsatisfied with some of the ordinariness of this novel. Some of the small town cliché characters, the mystery not being so mysterious. But I did like it. Overall some really nice writing. I can
...more
Connie
This was a book that I greatly anticipated and I was not dissappointed. The setting is a small town where doors were left unlocked, children walked to town, gossip travelled quickly, families ate dinner together and attended church on Sundays and kept their secrets secret. Much like the towns we grew up in or grew up watching on television.

Narrated by young Frank Drum, the summer of 1961 sees his idyllic life and family change. Much of this is told in hindsight but Frank realizes even at the t
...more
Frances
Apr 28, 2016 Frances rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully told story of a family living in New Bremen during 1961 experiencing some good times along with heartaches that somehow appear unexpectedly on the door step of most individuals. Told from the perspective of a young boy Frank Drum, 13 years old, who has much on his shoulders as he strives to do the right thing, but not always succeeding. Frank loves many things in his life including his younger brother Jake who stutters most of time and he tries his best to protect him from the bull ...more
Paula
A Brilliant coming-of-age story set in Minnesota in the 1960s. Ordinary Grace is a story of family and community, tragedy and secrets, compassion and forgiveness. A wonderful story of life experiences written in beautiful prose. Most enjoyable is that it's told from the narrator's perspective 40 years later.

A must read.
5 out of 5 stars.
❀Julie
Jul 18, 2016 ❀Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club, favorites
This book was like a balm for my soul. I had wanted to read it for some time but based on some reviews thought it might be too depressing with the mention of death. I decided to read it for my book club and am so glad I did.The story was so relatable that I found it comforting and after going months without being able to sit and read, the fact that I finished it in two days speaks for itself. ...more
Julie
It always strikes me as odd when readers congratulate themselves on "figuring" out the whodunit before the book's end and fault the writer for not making it more difficult. Perhaps for the write-by-numbers segment of the genre, the big reveal is important. That's not my style of read. Regardless of my deductive abilities, I'm far more interested in how the characters arrive at their understanding of events and how they interact with and react to their world. The tension and suspense are found in ...more
Lou
Apr 04, 2013 Lou rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"There was a playwright, Son, a Greek by the name of Aeschylus. He wrote that 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."

The father was a pillar of respectfulness, a preacher, the mother sung in the choir and had a beauty and grace.
Ariel the eldest child of the family was a compassionate and kind hearted woman.
The two young brothers of t
...more
Camie
Mar 03, 2015 Camie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favorites
Told 40 years later, this is the story of Frank Drum, a thirteen year old preachers son, and his brother Jake as they live through a very trying year (1961) in small town Minnesota. I like coming of age books, and this one which deals with learning to live with great loss, is superbly wise. Some reviews have compared the quiet beauty of this book to To Kill A Mockingbird. Enough said !! 5 stars
Susan Johnson
I received this book from Bookreporter.com in exchange for an unbiased review.

There are some books that are so exquisitely wonderful that the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. You literally can not do anything besides read it. This is one of those books. I am so hesitant to reveal too much because I don't want to spoil it for anyone. None of my words would compare to the author's but I will give a small recap.

Frank Drum is a 13 year old boy in a small town in a small Minnesota town in
...more
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Raised in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon, William Kent Krueger briefly attended Stanford University—before being kicked out for radical activities. After that, he logged timber, worked construction, tried his hand at freelance journalism, and eventually ended up researching child development at the University of Minnesota. He currently makes his living as a full-time author. He’s been married for ...more
More about William Kent Krueger...

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“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.” 114 likes
“The miracle is this: that you will rise in the morning and be able to see again the startling beauty of the day.” 45 likes
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