Thursday, April 11, 2013

Book Review | Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
I wanted to read Ordinary Grace for the atmosphere promised by the book description. Coming of age stories are my absolute favorite, and the vision of growing up in the early 60s with baseball and root beer and family secrets made me really want to read Ordinary Grace. I'm happy to say Ordinary Grace delivered much of what I was hoping for.

In the opening of Ordinary Grace, it was revealed that a young boy had been killed on the railroad tracks outside of town. This immediately called forth Stephen King's The Body (the story on which Stand by Me was based). For me that set a wonderful tone for the rest of Ordinary Grace which follows Frank and his brother Jake through a summer in New Bremen, Minnesota in 1961.

I loved both Frank and Jake as well as most of the people closest to them. The one exception would be their mother. At first, I loved her honesty and her individuality, but I eventually grew to hate her. The more I hated her, though, the more I grew to love their father.

If you prefer there be no religion in your fiction, this is not the book for you. Frank and Jake's father is a preacher and religion is interwoven throughout Ordinary Grace. I thought the religious aspect was handled very well and there were several moving spiritual moments in Ordinary Grace.

All in all, I enjoyed reading Ordinary Grace. Along with the wonderment that is inherent in a coming of age story, Ordinary Grace is about loss and tragedy and how a family holds itself together. It was a refreshingly well rounded story. It's been a long time since I've read something that felt as developed as Ordinary Grace.

If you enjoy historical mysteries and coming of age stories, Ordinary Grace might be a great pick for you. The mystery wasn't shocking, but the journey through the summer of 1961 was a good one.

4/5 stars

Review copy provided by publisher


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  1. This sounds very sweet. I'm not sure I would read it though. I don't mind religion in a book as long as the agenda isn't to convert me.

  2. Hmm this sounds good, but I'm not sure how I would fare with the religion in it. The comparison to The Body definitely has my interest piqued though because that story is amazing. Sad that you came to dislike the mother so much. Great review, Jennifer! Thanks for sharing :)

  3. Loved this well written book. All of the characters were well described and they all had flaws that made sense.

  4. Hmm doesn't look like my kind of book.

  5. This does sound good! I love a good coming of age story too, and The Body was such a wonderful novella that anything that compares deserves a spot on my shelves!

  6. I'm not sure about the book, but I do love the cover.


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