Monday, January 30, 2017
A Bit Piled On, But Worth The Read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If what happens to the Drum boys, Frank and Jake, in the New Bremen town of Minnesota, back in the Summer of 1961, had happened to me, I would have been a basket case. William Krueger's novel, which is both a coming of age tale, and a mystery story, is written by the adult Frank, looking back, and it is amazing both he and his brother turned out so well. I am not sure I would have.
Start with their father being a minister. Add to that their mother not too happy about it, due to thwarted artistic aspirations, and a chance to marry into the town's wealthiest family. However, her daughter, the boys' older sister, Andrea, is going to fulfill those dreams. Having graduated high school, she is scheduled, in the Fall to go off to--are you ready??????--Julliard, in New York!!!!!!!!!!!!
However, something must have gotten into the air that Summer, because plans are tragically derailed. A toddler is killed by a train, an itinerant (what back then would have been called a hobo; what today would be called homeless; when did that change take place????????) is killed, and two other deaths so tragic, plus an attempted suicide that, at first, I thought were all connected, but are not, adding up to a town so chock filled with gruesome events, I would have left on the spot. When things are unraveled, the tragedy is almost more than one can stand.
This book almost got to me as much, but not quite, as "The Light Between Oceans." There is a glimmer of hope at the close, which the other book tried, but not not convincingly, provide, making "Ordinary Grace easier to stomach. And, yes, the title has a meaning, which is fully disclosed.
I don't want to rob future readers of discoveries made during the course of this book. Each will experience and process them differently, and if any of you out there have read this, feel free to tell me.
Mr. Krueger is not the first writer to use Harper Lee as a template, nor will he be the last. On its strengths, his story works, both breaking an d expanding the hearts and minds of readers willing to give it a try.