Top critical review
An Extended Episode of Lassie
Reviewed in the United States on January 9, 2019
I know I'm spitting in the wind with a "mere" three-star review, but I kept waiting for this book to ignite, and it just never did. I'll also acknowledge that I have wavered between three and four stars; I ultimately opted for three because of all the rave reviews it's gotten -- undeservedly in my view -- and my wish to balance things out.
Ordinary Grace is not a bad book, but it couldn't make up its mind whether it was a mystery or a rite-of-passage book. As a result, it ended up being neither. There wasn't any real suspense, and the book reminded me of nothing so much as an extended episode of Lassie -- OK, there was no dog, but the hero (Frank, not Jimmy) learns 1.7 life lessons per 20 pages. And everyone, even the villains, are so good or otherwise not responsible for their evil deeds, so we end up feeling sorry for them instead of focusing on their bad acts.
I need to eat a pickle or some wasabi to get all that cloying, pastoral sweetness out of my head.