Ordinary Grace Book Summary

Ordinary Grace Summary. it is written by William Kent Krueger and published by Atria Books on 26 March 2013. It won the Edgar Award for Best Novel in 2014, William Kent Krueger (born November 16, 1950) is an American novelist and crime writer, best known for his series of novels featuring Cork O'Connor, which are set mainly in Minnesota. 

In 2005 and 2006, he won back-to-back Anthony Awards for best novel. In 2014, his stand-alone book Ordinary Grace won the Edgar Award for Best Novel of 2013. In 2019, This Tender Land was on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly six months.

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Ordinary Grace Summary

Ordinary Grace Summary

That was it. That was all of it. A grace so ordinary there was no reason at all to remember it. Yet I have never across the forty years since it was spoken forgotten a single word.

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.

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Ordinary Grace Themes

Grief and Healing: The central tragedy of the novel, the disappearance of Billy Jensen, casts a long shadow over the entire community. Each character grapples with grief in their own way, confronting loss, guilt, and the search for meaning amidst the chaos. The journey of healing becomes a key focus, highlighting the individual and collective power of resilience.

Faith and Forgiveness: The Drumm family, with their strong religious beliefs, navigates the complexities of faith in the face of tragedy. Forgiveness becomes a central struggle, challenging both faith and personal relationships. The novel explores the role of faith as a source of comfort and guidance, while also raising questions about its limitations and the challenges of accepting the "ordinary grace" of unexpected events.

Family and Community: The close-knit nature of the small town plays a crucial role in the story. We see the bonds of family tested and strengthened, and the community offering support and solace during difficult times. The novel explores the importance of belonging, acceptance, and the enduring strength found in interconnectedness.

Coming of Age: Through the eyes of Frank Drumm, the narrator, we witness the complexities of navigating adolescence in the aftermath of tragedy. Coming to terms with his own identity, understanding family dynamics, and dealing with difficult emotions like anger and fear are central to his journey.

Innocence and Loss: The disappearance of Billy represents the shattering of innocence in both the town and within the characters. The novel tackles the harsh realities of life and the challenges of reconciling childhood naiveté with the complexities of adulthood.

Secrets and Truth: The mystery surrounding Billy's disappearance keeps the narrative suspenseful, while also exploring the deeper themes of secrets and their impact on relationships. The search for truth becomes a driving force, revealing past betrayals and forcing characters to confront their own actions and choices.

Forgiveness and Redemption: The concept of forgiveness is woven throughout the narrative, both in terms of religious doctrine and personal struggles. Characters grapple with forgiving themselves and others, seeking redemption for past mistakes and finding closure in the face of tragedy.

Nature and Mystery: The setting of the novel, the rural landscape of Minnesota, plays a significant role. The natural world becomes a place of solace and exploration, while also holding secrets and hidden dangers. The interplay between nature and the human experience adds depth and intrigue to the story.

Questions and Answers about Ordinary Grace Book

What happens in the book Ordinary Grace? The Minnesota River flows through the countryside, the town barber knows everyone's name, and folks dutifully attend church every Sunday. But that serenity is thrown into turmoil as a series of tragic deaths lead thirteen-year-old Frank Drum and his family on a hunt for terrible truths.

What are the themes in Ordinary Grace? Thoughtful themes are the driving force in Ordinary Grace as Frank comes to terms with the world around him. Themes include grief, sibling relationships, faith, loyalty, trust, respect, mystery, bullying, mental health, friendship, community, loss of innocence, forgiveness, prejudice, and the Grace of God.

Is the book Ordinary Grace a true story? Although “Ordinary Grace” is not autobiographical, Krueger wanted to capture the essence of small towns in Oregon and Ohio where he grew up, as well as the emotions, memories and experiences he had at 13. “That's such an important period of life for a boy,” Krueger says.

Who is the killer in Ordinary Grace? Upon questioning by Nathan Drum, Emil admits to fathering Ariel's child but says he is not the killer. Frank cuts his hand while helping Lise Brandt in the garden and discovers items that belonged to his sister, Ariel, in Lise's medicine cabinet, identifying Lise as the killer.

Is Ordinary Grace a religious book? It is a story about faith and how we are tested by God. No child should have to bear the dying that Frank experiences that summer of '61. No man should have to revisit it every year.

How old is Frank in Ordinary Grace? In 'Ordinary grace' by William Kent Krueger, Frank Drumm is 13 years old and lives in New Bremen, Minnesota where it's summertime, a summer that begins with the death of a child on railroad tracks outside the town.

What are some important quotes in Ordinary Grace? The dead are never far from us. They're in our hearts and on our minds and in the end all that separates us from them is a single breath, one final puff of air. The miracle is this: that you will rise in the morning and be able to see again the startling beauty of the day. God never promised us an easy life.

Was the book Ordinary Grace made into a movie? However, in my time there, I met with the producers who are at work on the script to bring my novel Ordinary Grace to film, and I came away assured that the project is the right hands. Immediately following the conference, we had reservations for a house in Sedona, four weeks of R&R.

How many chapters are in Ordinary Grace? This in-depth study guide offers summaries & analyses for all 39 chapters of Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger.

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