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Ordinary Grace

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  85,114 ratings  ·  10,681 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
Hardcover, 307 pages
Published March 26th 2013 by Atria Books (first published 2013)
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Gaelyn Melissa!!! You need to read Boy's Life by Robert McCammon, one of the most underrated books ever! It has all the things you want. It's a coming of age…moreMelissa!!! You need to read Boy's Life by Robert McCammon, one of the most underrated books ever! It has all the things you want. It's a coming of age story set around a murder mystery with lots of magic realism thrown in the mix AND a very strong father figure. It is not suspenseful throughout per se, but it gears up towards the end. Look it up on this because it has a high rating (4.31 stars) and lots of 5 star reviews. Also, I agree that you should also give Peace Like a River a look as well.(less)

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Average rating 4.20  · 
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 ·  85,114 ratings  ·  10,681 reviews

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Sep 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
James Thane
Apr 01, 2013 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
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There is a quote in the book where it talks about the “awful Grace of God”.

The meaning of ‘awful’ as an adjective:
1. extremely bad; unpleasant; disagreeable.
2. inspiring fear; terrible: an awful noise.
3. solemnly impressive: the awful majesty of the peaks.
4. extremely dangerous, risky, injurious, etc.: an awful fall; to take an awful chance.
5. Informal. very great: an awful lot of money.
6. full of awe; reverential.

What I find sad is that we almost always hear the word in its 1st, 2nd, 4th,
Kevin Ansbro
I was convinced to read this gentle coming-of-age story by an inundation of five-star reviews posted by wonderful Goodreads friends.
I would like the aforementioned friends to remain as such, so I'll get my main gripe out of the way and then move onto the good bits. : )

Repetition of the word 'and':
>Thin and angry and blind and lost and shut up behind<
>trustworthy and loyal and thrifty and brave and clean and reverent<
>Forster's terns and black terns and great blue herons and egrets an
A quiet novel that unfurls its sad story slowly, but eloquently, leaving its mark on your heart.

Found this book on Goodreads, thanks to my friends here! It's truly a beautiful melancholic story about a boy growing up, the grief of a family tragedy, the love and the unbreakable bonds of a family, the strong bond of young brothers... beautifully written, the book radiates a 'quiet beauty'. Reminded me of The Round House (Louise Erdrich). Dark and warm at the same time. About the Ordinary Grace o
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
4.5 stars

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger, is a beautifully written hard to put down novel full of twists and turns. William Kent Krueger is mostly know for his multiple-award-winning Cork O'Connor series. Ordinary Grace is a stand alone novel and is the Winner of the 2014 EDGAR Award for Best Novel, a Winner of the 2014 DILYS Award and was A SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL BEST BOOK OF 2013.

This book is narrated by Frank Drum, 40 years after a fateful summer when he was thirteen years old in New
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
***New book by this author coming out in Fall 2019, titled "This Tender Land" you will want to watch for this one :) ***

I listened to this book on audio, it was a book club book and I hadn't been familiar with it at all.

This is a beautifully written book with gorgeous prose and very in depth character development. It really made me feel as if I were in a small town in Minnesota in the 1961. I live in Wisconsin and have been in numerous small towns in the north woods area that have this same "fee
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger (Author), Rich Orlow (Narrator)

After reading This Tender Land, I knew I'd be reading Ordinary Grace at some point. Actually, I listened to the excellently narrated audio version of the book and now I want to investigate more of Krueger's work. In Ordinary Grace, we are hearing about the summer of 1961, in New Bremen, Minnesota. It's less a coming of age book than a losing of innocence for thirteen year old Frank Drum and his eleven year old brother, Jake. T
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am currently making my way through this author's Cork O'Connor series and enjoying them very much. So it was an easy step for me to pick up this stand alone novel and give it a try. So pleased I did because this is a beautiful book.

I love the easy, gentle characters that Krueger brings to his books. He seems to have an affinity with people who think deeply and people who care, but he can still portray the evil and the unkind when he needs to. I so enjoyed the many times in the story when the b
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.
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-lit-us
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger is set in New Bremen, Minnesota and spans the long hot summer of 1961.
We are guided through this dramatic and turbulent time by Frank Drum, the son the the town’s Methodist minister. Small town life is lovingly and poetically described and this coming of age tale is packed with incident and contains a central, well crafted mystery.
‘ .......... it was a summer in which death, in visitation, assumed many forms. Accidental. Nature. Suicide. murder........’ A
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An amazing, bittersweet and poignant coming of age novel. Beautifully written with wonderful thoughts on loss, forgiveness and the "awful grace of God".

Update - I'm re-reading this for a book club. I had borrowed a kindle edition the first time I rad this and was able to highlight passages. Now my library is using Axis360 which does not allow for highlighting. So, I've been jotting down passages I wanted to remember. Come to find out, all the passages I'm writing down are the same as those previ
Aug 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 b
May 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
1961 was a great year - this book was based on that year, that's why is 1961 great. Recommended by a Goodreads friend, Ordinary Grace is like the roots of a tree, silently and solely burying in the soil to find treasure. Like the leaves stretching out to find the golden sun's rays.

I've gotten a bit tired of the murder victim in my book be a girl. I'm a bit over-saturated on that count. I only hope that this fact didn't deaden my sensitivity to this story, and I believe it didn't. Maybe if the gi
May 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have my very good friend, Jan, to thank for recommending this gem to me. It was well worth her glowing review for it fulfilled all the wonderful things that she and many others have said.

“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.”

After reading this author's, This Tender Land, I knew I needed to pick up Ordinary Grace. Books from authors that are written from the heart are def
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is every bit as wonderful as everyone has told me it would be. I'm so glad I finally got around to reading it.

Set in small town Minnesota in the summer of 1961, it was a simpler, more carefree time when children were free to roam on their own. Thirteen year old Frank Drum and his younger brother Jake would disappear on their bikes from dawn to dusk, to explore along the river bank and railway line or join in an impromptu ball game. However, this summer tragedy will strike at the heart
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
Susanne  Strong
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, Heartbreaking, Poignant, Profound.

The year is 1961, the place is New Bremen, Minnesota.

Frank Drum is thirteen years old when the world around him begins to take shape. He and his little brother Jake are best friends. Their lives have been fairly simple. Everything centers around religion, family and community. Days are spent playing outside, enjoying life. Then tragedy strikes. Thereafter, the hits keep on coming. For Frank, Jake and their parents, as well as the town of New Bremen,
Stephanie Nicholas
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
I implore all of you to read this book! It is heartbreakingly mesmerizing in it's writing, not a word is poorly chosen or out of place. William Kent Krueger writes of a young boy, Frank, and his family as they ride the waves of love, loss, accidents, death and mercy in a little town in the Midwest.

Frank narrates the story forty years after the occurrence of the death of his sister, and how the events leading up to, and after her death shaped the lives of his younger brother, Jake, and himself.
Elyse  Walters
Dec 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I FULLY enjoyed this glorious reading experience!!!

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


I loved it -- I loved it -- I loved it!!
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Jun 09, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Nov 10, 2014 rated it really liked it

The narrator of this story is Frank Drum, a 13-year-old boy who lives in a small Minnesota town with his family: younger brother Jake, who has a severe stutter; older sister Ariel, a talented musician destined for Julliard; father Nathan, an earnest Methodist pastor; and mother Ruth, choir director and superb singer who thought she was marrying a future lawyer and is not happy with her husband's vocation. The Drums are an average family with loving parents and nice children who behave as typical
Yay! 5 stars! I was drawn into this story right away and my feelings never changed. It is a wonderful, but sad, coming of age story narrated 40 or so years after the events take place. I especially liked the character of Gus. I felt right there in the town of New Bremen, MN with everyone. Here are some some memorable lines:

"How could I possibly explain my silence, my complicity in his escape, things I really didn't understand myself? My heart had simply directed me in a way that my head couldn'
May 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Andrew Smith
Jan 05, 2015 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
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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

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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.” 211 likes
“The miracle is this: that you will rise in the morning and be able to see again the startling beauty of the day.” 100 likes
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