Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger is one of those books that crosses so many genre and age groups; it makes it hard to talk about it using only aOrdinary Grace by William Kent Krueger is one of those books that crosses so many genre and age groups; it makes it hard to talk about it using only a few words. I can recommend this to women and men, to teens through seniors, to mystery lovers, to historical fiction lovers, etc. My book club selected this for our upcoming meeting and I am pretty sure we will have a ton to discuss.
The story is told from the perspective of 13 year-old Frank Drum. Frank is the middle child of Nathan and Ruth Drum, a minister and his artistic wife. A younger brother, Jake, stutters and is subject to ridicule for his handicap. Older sister Ariel, a very talented musician, originally plans on attending Juilliard in the coming school year, but becomes reluctant to leave. In addition, the family includes Gus, a war buddy who saved Nathan's life and needs help getting back on his feet.
It is the hot summer of 1961 in New Bremen, Minnesota, with the Twins baseball team playing their first season, and small town life is gentle, peaceful and innocent. But, for Frank and his family, this becomes the summer of lost innocence; a summer of death - suspicious, murder, suicide, and accidental deaths. In addition, there are secrets and misunderstandings, racism and bigotry, and a great deal of loss.
Through Frank's eyes we see marital struggles, misbehaving adults, injustice, and a tremendous amount of pain and loss. He and his younger brother Jake struggle to understand the world around them, and the impact of religion on many different lives. Both grow up during this painful summer of loss, and begin to see the world from the perspective of young men rather than boys.
Frank is an honorable, yet mischievous 13 year-old who has the normal boy's curiosity and the awakening interest in the opposite sex. He narrates the story, and the first person perspective works, as Frank is a tremendous eavesdropper and learns much from gossip. The story is heartwarming, yet tear-inducing, painful, yet funny, and the characters are common, ordinary townspeople, yet reflective of the best and worst of humankind.
Ordinary Grace is an extraordinary story that pulled me faster and faster through to the end. There is plenty of action to keep the interest of the plot-craving reader, but a tremendous amount of heart to keep the character-driven interest, as well. I laughed, I cried, I remembered. I recommend Ordinary Grace very highly....more
Although basically an enjoyable read, I drop down my rating of this book for the large number of editorial issues which just became annoying. So manyAlthough basically an enjoyable read, I drop down my rating of this book for the large number of editorial issues which just became annoying. So many times the author meant to use a given word, but used a similar word with an entirely different meaning. The book also contained lots of typos. The storyline was interesting, and still retained a bit of pride and prejudice, and the characters were fairly true to canon. But the tension is minimal and it is assumed Darcy and Elizabeth feel an attraction to each other without having a great deal of chemistry or spark explicitly in the writing. ...more