Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: March 2013
Categories: Literary, Mystery, Coming of Age
Source: My own copy
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.

My Thoughts:
Who doesn’t adore a good coming of age tale? I do, especially when it’s done right. This was done more than right.

Followers of this blog might know that I’m not a big book buyer. There is no way I could afford to sustain my reading habit. I bought this because I’d been hearing wonderful things and because the author is visiting my local indie bookstore at the end of this month. I’m so glad that I did.

About William Kent Krueger

The setting of this novel warmed my heart. Small town Minnesota, so similar to my own small town Wisconsin upbringing. Of course I felt a connection there, even if I did grow up a couple of decades after these boys.

I felt a connection to the characters as well. Frank…oh Frank.  One day his biggest adventure is peeking at his neighbor’s undergarments on her clothesline. Soon he is facing things that are hard for adults to handle. His younger brother Jake was wonderful. This sweet boy with a stutter made my heart ache.

There were times while reading this that I had a painful lump in my throat. There were also times that I couldn’t help but smile until my face ached. This book was an absolute blessing to read and I’m proud to have it on my shelf. 

40 thoughts on “Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

  1. Quite an endorsement. It's been awhile since I've read a good ol coming of age story (I think…) Will tbr.


  2. I love how indies are always hosting amazing events and helping readers discover new authors. They really are priceless resources. 'Coming of age' is one of my hot button subjects that initially grabs my interest when reading about a book – so this one sounds great!


  3. Yes! I want to give a big hug to my local indie 🙂 I'm a sucker for a good coming of age story too. I just love reading about that age. The things that happen to us in those years have so much to do with how we turn out as adults. In my opinion anyway 🙂


  4. Your review is very inspiring, I like that you added the part about your book buying – sometimes it's good to have a reminder, especially when it says a lot about the goodness of the book. Will you be writing about the author event?


  5. Thank you Charlie 🙂 I'm fairly sure I'll be writing about the author event. I don't get to do things like that often since I live in a small town. I hope I don't trip all over myself and gush like an idiot, lol.


  6. Wow. Your review is making me go check my records to see if I own a copy of it already or not and if not, I may have to rethink my self-imposed book-buying ban immediately.


  7. Jennifer, I am so glad you were there yesterday evening! What a great guy! Wonderful evening. ORDINARY GRACE was my first Krueger read & I absolutely agree with what you've said about it. Absolutely top shelf.


  8. Hi there! I wish I knew who you were, ha ha! It was such a great event. Kent was generous and gracious and so much fun to talk to. Top shelf indeed. I can't wait to see what he comes up with next 🙂 Thanks for visiting my blog, I appreciate it!


  9. Hey Jennifer…SORRY, how thoughtless of me not to identify myself. It's the Cable librarian…Kristine…I was happy to visit your blog…and will certainly look at it more often! THANKS!


  10. I missed this review earlier, somehow. I've read one of William Kent Krueger's mysteries and thought it was really good, but I'm just not a big mystery reader. This sounds like the next one of his I should read!


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