Ordinary Grace

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5,475 Ratings

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5 out of 5 stars
By tooonce72 on 03-29-13

Wonderful Wonderful - In Every Way

This book is beautiful. Just brilliant. It's a mystery that takes place in Minnesota in 1961 with classic literature; very reminiscent of To Kill A Mockingbird. So much so that I found myself listening to this story in black and white.

A beautiful tale with a 'morals in an immoral world' theme. One of the main characters is a wonderful peaceful father who has to guide his children through the animalistic ways of mankind. The family in this book are that of the town's minister's which lends itself to discussions of religion.

Once started I was completely immersed in each member of this family and all the people that they come in contact with. I plowed through this for I could NOT put this down. Just when I thought I saw a direction this was going - I found myself surprised.

I have never read this author before. If you have, be very careful to read the synopsis carefully for this is a stand alone book. I would be thrilled if this would become a series book though.

Rich Orlow is such an enhancement to this story by giving every character an identity. He does the voice of the deaf, women, men, children, Indians, aristocrats to perfection. What a talent.

I will be looking for this author and narrator other works.

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147 of 156 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Byron on 04-10-13

best book to come along this year!!

After a series of great murder mysteries, staring Cork O'Conner, Kruger has come up with a genius of a stand alone coming of age, murder mystery, and trestles on the "awful grace of God".
Our of the best books that I've ever read.

Frank is telling his story some forty years after the actual events that took place during his thirteenth year. In 1961, small town Minnesota, the summer is hot, the people know everything about everyone, and life is good. But this all changes when a young boy is killed while playing on the train tracks. Frank , and his stuttering younger brother, speculate about this tragedy. Their father is the town's Methodist minister, and folks look to him to answer the preverbal question of "Why would God let this happen?".

But that was just the beginning of this momentous summer for Frank, his family, and this small town. There will be three more deaths. An itinerant man is found amongst the weeds, there is a suicide, and finally a murder. Everyone in the town is affected by these tragedies in some way---bringing out the best and the worst in people.

Kruger's writing is filled with wonderful descriptive phrases. His characters will touch your heart in ways that will be difficult to put away after you've finished this book. His specific and thoughtful discussions of God's grace as seen through Frank's eyes will keep you wondering about your own faith. Simply a five, no five times five star read. This book has something for every reader to enjoy!!

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120 of 133 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By L on 12-01-16

"was like...."

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I agree with the reviewer who criticized the amount of similes and metaphors. I know this sounds petty, but so much good solid writing yields to things like "the silence was like angels" and "night was like the dark of your soul" and "as hot as the pavement below our feet". The reason it merits criticism is that the amount of similes and metaphors is overwhelming, distracting --and finally, amusing. Every few sentences the narrator pauses and I laugh, saying the next words right along with him: "...it was just like a ..." and it's pulling me out of the story.

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12 of 13 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Lia on 06-01-18

Different But Amazing

First of all, I loved how this story was told from the perspective of Frank, a 13-year-old boy. This gave a unique life to the story of the loss and suspense in New Bremen in the summer of 1961, as well as gave the reader a true picture of the freedom of childhood in small-town America during an era much unlike today. Young Frank was a bit of a "go getter;" rules meant little to him and all that eavesdropping he did gave us much greater insight into this events of a ill-fated summer. Underneath the tragic losses in this community is the ever-present essence of relationships, prejudice, God and family. Frank's father is a pastor, and the struggle of faith runs clearly through this story where grief changes everyone. And, ultimately, a child shall lead the way. Because of this novel, I will likely delve into some of Mr. Krueger's Cork O'Connor series ... but I do look forward to his writing another stand-alone novel with the depth of this one.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Richard Delman on 12-04-16

A mystery that is no mystery.

What did you like best about Ordinary Grace? What did you like least?

Mr. Krueger can write, and the narrator can read. I have enjoyed Krueger's work for a long time, particularly the series that features Cork O'Connor. However, this book is a stand-alone, and it is disappointing. You can name Ariel's killer very quickly after she is killed, and you can also see the straw man immediately.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

I would have changed quite a bit about the family. Not to be anti-religious, as religion is one of the strongest aspects of the people in this town. But the father, Nathan, is a preacher, and IMHO too much preaching pads the book. Nonetheless, the characters of the two boys are engaging, and the narrator is strong and convincing.

What aspect of Rich Orlow’s performance would you have changed?

Not much. The material he is given is not Mr. Krueger's best, and Mr. Orlow does the best he can with it.

Could you see Ordinary Grace being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

I don't like this book enough to do that particular exercise.

Any additional comments?

Try reading one of the books in the Cork O'Connor series. He is a very well-drawn character, and the plots of the books, while sometimes light on the mystery front, are well-written, and one comes to feel that O'Connor might be someone you know.

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9 of 10 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Pamela Dale Foster on 11-09-14

By the Grace of God

The coming of age can certainly make a boy of 13 grow up fast. Frank Drum was that boy. He definitely has a story to tell.

There are many participant's in this story and each of them have their own story to tell. These character's are very well developed. The reader will come to know each one as an individual. Listen closely because each one of them are important in contributing to the coming of age of Frank Drum.

I definitely encourage other's to purchase this book. The plot is very well developed. The characters are interesting people and the author, William Kent Krueger, wrote about them so that the listener will want to continue reading to the very last page. The narrator, Rich Orlow, is excellent. He makes the character's come alive. He makes listening to, Ordinary Grace, a pleasure and an easy listen.

The mystery of who committed the murders that summer in Breman, a small town where everyone knows everyone else, is difficult to understand. Why would anyone want to end the life of another?

Always remember that the dead are never far from us, just one single breath will take us to them.

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35 of 42 people found this review helpful

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