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Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
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Ordinary Grace (edition 2014)

by William Kent Krueger (Author)

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1,2791219,115 (4.15)117
Member:Cfogarty
Title:Ordinary Grace
Authors:William Kent Krueger (Author)
Info:Atria Books (2014), Edition: Reprint, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
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Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

  1. 40
    Montana 1948 by Larry Watson (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These lyrical, meditative novels brim with bittersweet nostalgia in their evocatively detailed portraits of small American towns in the mid-20th century. Both focus on sensitive teen protagonists struggling to understand shocking tragedies and complex family drama.… (more)
  2. 10
    Peace Like a River by Leif Enger (bjappleg8)
    bjappleg8: Similar story of a father's faith through family trials and tribulations as seen through a young boy's eyes.
  3. 10
    A Crime in the Neighborhood by Suzanne Berne (aliklein)
  4. 00
    The Round House by Louise Erdrich (tangledthread)
    tangledthread: Similar coming of age story. Similar issues, and very good writing in both books.
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It is 1961 in New Bremen, Minnesota. Frank Drum lives here with his family who are father, mother, younger brother and older sister. They live here because his father is a Methodist minister in three local churches in the area. Tragedy strikes the town when a young boy is killed on the railroad tracks. Next a drifter is found dead. Then soon in that summer in 1961 there would be another death that would affect the Drum family even more personally.

This book is about what it is like living in a small town in the 1960's. It is about believing in the Grace of God and in the goodness of people. But it is also about the tragedy of losing someone you love and being forced to grow up too quickly. ( )
  Rdglady | Nov 20, 2018 |
It is 1961 in New Bremen, Minnesota. Frank Drum lives here with his family who are father, mother, younger brother and older sister. They live here because his father is a Methodist minister in three local churches in the area. Tragedy strikes the town when a young boy is killed on the railroad tracks. Next a drifter is found dead. Then soon in that summer in 1961 there would be another death that would affect the Drum family even more personally.

This book is about what it is like living in a small town in the 1960's. It is about believing in the Grace of God and in the goodness of people. But it is also about the tragedy of losing someone you love and being forced to grow up too quickly. ( )
  Rdglady | Nov 20, 2018 |
PC and too much bleeding heart ( )
  brone | Oct 25, 2018 |
This novel is narrated by a middle-age Frank Drum who recalls a hot 1961 summer in the fictional town of New Bremen situated along the Minnesota River when he was thirteen. When a young boy is hit by a passing train on a train trestle, this inaugural death begins a series of deaths which includes one that shatters his family. However, as the title of the book indicates, healing comes as other family members and friends serve as instruments of God's grace.

Although this book is set in the north central US, I couldn't help seeing it set in a Southern setting. I guess it was because I could identify the innocence of that time. The characters were so well developed, I had no problem in seeing them in my mind's eye. I particular like Frank's father, a Methodist minister, who reminded me of Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. I loved the relationship between Frank and his younger brother, Jake, who has a speech impediment. Everywhere Frank went, Jake wanted to follow. Several of the characters hold secrets that are revealed but healing occurs. The author writes beautifully and successfully transports you to 1961.

I have never read any books by William Kent Krueger, but if other novels are like this one, it won't be the last of his. ( )
  John_Warner | Sep 30, 2018 |
In the summer of 1961 in New Bremen, Minnesota, Frank Drum's family is impacted by several deaths in the community, beginning with that of his young acquaintance, Bobby Cole. His father is a minister, but Frank isn't so sure he sees the hand of God in the midst of all this grief, which is soon to affect him even more personally.

Frank reflects on the events of that summer forty years later, so we get the mix of what a child (or teen in this case, as Frank was 13) would have picked up from eavesdropping or how he might have interpreted what adults were talking about around him. He sometimes deals with fear and misunderstandings, and he's never going to know exactly what happened in World War 2 that was such a pivotal moment in his father's life. The family is well-drawn, from his father the minister, his mother who signed up to be a lawyer's wife but still gamely leads music for multiple services, his sister Ariel just on the cusp of adulthood, and his little brother Jake who follows him everywhere. Some of the other characters felt a little flat to me, particularly the way a deaf woman, Lise, is portrayed. Her "signs and gestures" are never acknowledged to be language and when she speaks aloud he always points out the ways in which she can't vocalize or uses "that tone I hate." Because of that, I found myself in hyper-critical mode and was analyzing rather than enjoying the story throughout. Though since it's very much about death and loss, "enjoy" is the wrong word too. The first half was quite meditative and the second half picked up tremendously; I cared enough to find out what happened, but I'm still ambivalent and not sure I'd go out of my way to recommend it. ( )
  bell7 | Sep 20, 2018 |
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It's the kind of book where you fight between wanting to race through it to the finish and attempting to make it last. Luckily it's paced so well and is so satisfying a meal for the mind, I was able to put it down every few chapters and happily mull over what has gone before, feeling sated.

It's the kind of introspective, intelligent novel where there are layers of meaning behind every word, and personal history and context wrapped in the motives of every character. It also has a strong plot, for those who like Kent Krueger for his thrillers.
 
Krueger has created a cast of compelling characters (young and old), each in his or her own way searching for something, including the narrator’s father, the town’s Methodist pastor, and his mother, whose bold personality worries his congregation.

Although Krueger’s plot rises to a predictable conclusion, there’s such a quiet beauty in his prose and such depth to his characters that I was completely captivated by this book’s ordinary grace
 
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Epigraph
The heart has reasons that reason does not understand. -- Blaise Pascal
Dedication
For Diane, my extraordinary grace
First words
All the dying that summer began with the death of a child, a boy with golden hair and thick glasses, killed on the railroad tracks outside New Bremen, Minnesota, sliced into pieces by a thousand tons of steel speeding across the prairie toward South Dakota.
Quotations
With Mother home I liked the idea that we’d been saved as a family by the miracle of that ordinary grace.
I still spend a lot of time thinking about the events of that summer. About the terrible price of wisdom. The awful grace of God.
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Book description
“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.
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Looking back at a tragic event that occurred during his thirteenth year, Frank Drum explores how a complicated web of secrets, adultery, and betrayal shattered his Methodist family and their small 1961 Minnesota community.

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