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Cracking Grace by Stephen Stromp
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Cracking Grace

by Stephen Stromp

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Cracking Grace by Stephen Stromp is a book that I was given in exchange for an honest review.

I gave this book a 5 star review. It is a tragic story that deals with death, acceptance, and raises questions about what happens after death. What is the meaning of life? And do we really know more than any one else (even statues in a cemetery) the answer to that question?

This book raises many questions for you to ponder upon. It also took me through many different emotions. Sadness for Audrey. Anger towards her father and also towards the people who trash the cemetery. Happiness for Mrs. Grant and the gargoyles. I don't want to give away any spoilers!

Read 'Cracking Grace'....you won't be disappointed! ( )
  tmiller1018 | Feb 1, 2016 |
I see all the good reviews on this book so I had high hopes. Not quite sure what it was but I could not get into the book. I made myself finish (only because I thought I would feel different). I might go back and try again later on. I will say there are so many great reviews on the book so I am sure more people will enjoy. I will look for other books by this author. ( )
  Digilormo | Mar 14, 2015 |
This is a story of Audrey, a young girl who's parents live on the grounds of a cemetery where there are many statues that her father handcrafted in his shed, who are more than they seem to be to Audrey and her parents. When her mother dies, Audrey not only has to watch her father slip into his own madness, but she also discovers that the statues that her father makes can also be great friends. This was a great story that I enjoyed very much! ( )
  jlynnp79 | Oct 18, 2014 |
I received a copy of this title via the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program.

Ten Second Synopsis:
Audrey's dad is the caretaker of a cemetery. After his wife is interred there (posthumously...he's not that crazy), Audrey's dad goes a bit bonkers. It's not surprising therefore, that the cemetery statues are having difficulty working out this thing called life.

I really enjoyed the originality of this tale. While it's not going to be to everyone's tastes given the naivete that runs through a lot of the dialogue, it appealed to me for its depictions of the desperation and tragedy that can plague reality, coupled with the unknowing and lack of change and growth that can ruin the land of fantasy. Underlying all this was the simple logic of Audrey and her willingness to move on from grief without regret, in that way that children seem to be able to manage.

I enjoyed the personalities that Stromp ascribed to the statues of Mary and Jesus - cranky Jesus is great fun and Mary, while she could be annoying in her perpetual curiosity, also embraced a bit of rebelliousness that was unexpected and life-giving. The cast of living, inanimate and undead characters that populate the cemetery is varied and provides both comic relief and existential musing.
I feel that I must defend my species here, as Stromp has painted a bleak picture indeed of Gargoyle-Human relations and gargoyle manners in general (although there is a reason for this that becomes apparent in a sneaky, cheeky twist at the end).

I did feel that the plotline regarding the father's decline jarred a bit in the believability stakes (although I had no trouble with the talking statues...). It didn't quite ring true to me that no one in the town would have noticed (or cared) that Audrey and her dad were clearly not coping well after the mother's death, but I was able to forgive this in the end because I suspect it doesn't really matter. The heart of this story is in the process, and in nutting out the big questions of existence.

Once again, this isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea, but if you are looking for a reasonably short read that hides a lot of philosophical musing, with a waft of the ethereal and twinge or two of a modern fable, then I highly recommend giving this a go. ( )
  BruceGargoyle | Oct 2, 2014 |
This was a cute and unique book. I've never read a story like it, and I love its premise. Unfortunately, it kind of fell short for me on the delivery. I'm not sure why, really. It's one of those books that is enjoyable to read, but once I put it down, I don't really feel compelled to pick it back up.

I especially liked Mrs. Grant, and Mary with her innocent optimism and curiosity. The Dad irked me a little. I think he was kind of inconsistent in his grief. I don't want to say more than that for fear of spoilers. I don't think his problem was "madness" as described in the summary, but rather a need for a swift kick in the pants. But, hey, there's no right way to deal with grief, so I guess that was his way.

Overall though, an enjoyable book. I'd be interested in reading future work by this author.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  SaraCSnider | Aug 24, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0615970656, Paperback)

Cracking Grace questions the very basic concepts of spirituality through the eyes of Audrey, a young girl in the midst of a tragedy—and through the eyes of Mary, a seemingly lifeless cemetery statue. As her father slips into madness, Audrey is left to explore a secret world for answers to her loss. Aided by her faithful companion, a bluebird named Bluebell, Mary sets out on her own mission of discovery—despite chiding from the other residents of the cemetery: the cynical Jesus; two wisecracking gargoyles; and the eccentric ghost Mrs. Grant, a curmudgeonly old woman trapped among the graves. Part fable, part dark fantasy, Cracking Grace is the story of loss and of newfound friendships for a young, wounded girl. It’s the story of a father bound to the flesh, unable to accept death. It’s the story of a woman trapped in stone, determined to understand her existence.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:19 -0400)

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