Ordinary Grace; William Kent Krueger
2013 - Atria and Recorded Books
Ordinary Grace is a novel that has been getting a lot of buzz, and since I tend to enjoy coming of age stories, I decided to give this one a try. The story is narrated by Frank Drum, looking back at his youth in Bremen, Minnesota, in particular the summer of 1961 when Frank was just thirteen years old son.
Frank is the middle child, his older sister Ariel is eighteen and a talented pianist. She has a promising future in store, having been accepted at Julliard School of Music. Younger brother Jake, is eleven and suffers bullying and humiliation for his stuttering, an affliction which only seems to surface when he is outside of his home. Their father is a Methodist minister in town and their mother Ruth is unhappy in her role as the wife of a minister. Ruth is a woman who was a talented musician and thought she would be marrying a lawyer, but war changes people, and after Nathan returned from the war, he felt a calling toward religious life instead. His wife doesn't share a strong faith in God to do the right thing, especially when time and again bad things happen in life.
In this normally quiet town four deaths occur in that summer of 1961, the first one involving a developmentally disabled young boy along the train tracks, and shortly after, in the same area, a homeless man is also found dead. Two more deaths/murders follow and one in particular, changes this family forever.
Part mystery, part coming of age story, this was an enjoyable story that held my interest until the very end. The characters were compelling, and the writing good, but I had an issue with the way Frank always seemed to be in just the right place to overhear critical conversations, yet I do understand with a story like this, that device might have been needed to move the story a long. Despite this minor issue, Ordinary Grace is a worthwhile read. The audio book was read by, Rich Orlow, who did a great job.
(audiobook and eGalley)