March 22, 2015

An Ordinary Grace: a book review

. . . . .A BOOK REVIEW.
By William Kent Krueger
This is a multifaceted novel set in  a small farm community in Minnesota. It documents a tragic year in the life of the little town of New Bremen –1961.   It is told in the voice of a precocious 13 year old boy, Frank Drum, who along with his younger brother Jake is witness to some earthshaking events that will forever change their lives and alter their view of the world.   Their father is minister of the Methodist Church,  a man who came home from WW2 with his dreams shattered and his perspectives totally changed.  His wife finds herself in a situation that she detests, but makes the most of it by using her musical talents in the church and community programs.   She projects her lost dreams and passions onto the shoulders of their beautiful and talented daughter, who has her own dreams.
 The authors luminous writing creates vivid images of the beautiful northern river country and provides historical background that brings the town and its back-roads, the railroad tracks, the river banks, the mud and the sand, the heat and the humidity vividly into your world and you find you are deeply immersed in the life of this little town and its fascinating  characters.
Mysterious and unexplained deaths, old prejudices –all the human foibles and flaws of everyday life are woven into the tapestry of this story.  The two boys are exposed to the dark elements in back rooms and police stations, and are witness to the devastation of loss in their own family.   Their emotionally devastated, but wise and even-keeled father provides the anchor, the model and the rope to guide their way through the tangled territory they must navigate.
It is a beautiful, heartbreaking story, but leaves you with lessons to learn and  deep thoughts to ponder upon.   My kind of book.
Betty L Owen   Journals 2015

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