125 of 138 people found the following review helpful
thought provoking novel on coming of age in the 60s,
This review is from: Ordinary Grace: A Novel (Hardcover)
This novel is so well written and the story is so touching, I did not want it to end.
The year is 1961 and Frank Drum is a thirteen year old son of a Methodist minister in New Bremen, Minnesota. It should have been a summer of innocence, like the era. But there were four deaths in the small town that summer. And that changed everything for Frank.
The story is narrated by Frank now forty years older. He looks back and remembers the fateful summer that was full of lies and secrets. Frank's father has a secret - something that happened in the war that made him responsible for the deaths of many. Frank's artistic mother didn't marry to be a pastor's wife and has difficulty living the role. Frank's little brother, though wise beyond his years, stutters. And Frank's older sister is an accomplished pianist, organist, and composer.
Frank tries to make sense of the events as they happen over the summer. There is the death of a young boy on the railroad tracks. Later Frank and his brother stumble upon a homeless man, dead under the train trestle.
And then his sister is missing. Frank knows she had been sneaking out at night but never told their dad. As the days go by, secrets come to the light and Frank has much to think about and understand.
This is much more than just a coming of age story. It is a look into the lives of those struggling to understand what is happening to them. It is a story about the awful grace of God and the ordinary grace of God. When his sister's body is found, the story becomes a mystery as Frank tries to unravel the relationships that would cause one to take the life of another.
The author has given readers much to think about in this novel. How would we face the tragic loss of a loved one at the hands of another? Could we exercise forgiveness? Would we seek revenge?
Experiencing the events of the summer through the eyes of Frank is amazing. I felt his innocence, puzzlement, anger, regret and a host of other emotions. Kruger has done such a good job of creating the scenes through the eyes of Frank I felt like I was right there. And the other characters are well developed too. I love Frank's little brother - so wise, so loving, so thought provoking.
This is a well written novel I'll be thinking about for some time.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 3, 2013 8:00:25 AM PDT
L. Rogers says:
I've met each of these characters in my own lifetime. Sometimes they handled life with grace and at other times I wish they'd handled life better. The people in this book were real to me, a credit to the beautiful prose their stories are told in. I thought I'd miss Cork, but after the first paragraph I never thought of him again (and I love Cork). This is just a beautifully written story that will stay with me for a very long time. (But I'm ready to greet Cork again soon!)
Posted on Sep 17, 2014 6:35:02 PM PDT
Next time you write a review remember to say "spoiler alert" when writing about the plot. Thanks a lot for spoiling the book for me.
Posted on Oct 10, 2014 1:32:23 PM PDT
Book Lover says:
You didn't ruin the book for me, but a "spoiler alert" would have been appreciated.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 10, 2014 2:14:37 PM PDT
L. Rogers says:
I never revealed a single item concerning the plot! Are you sure you are directing this to the right reviewer? I only said I missed Cork because I thought the author was publishing another in his series. Sorry if you think I gave something away...Lue Rogers
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2014 2:38:56 PM PST
M. Walsh says:
You did say that his sister was found killed. Since this happened a little later in the book, and for a while, we are left to wonder what might have happened to her, maybe it might be considered a spoiler. Also, I do not believe that the author ever revealed the exact nature of the event(s) of World War II that scarred the father...in fact, at an author talk I heard, the author said he deliberately did not; so many veterans came back from WWII and never talked about their experiences.
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