The Sound of Gravel

The Sound of Gravel

A Memoir

Book - 2016
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The true story of one girl's coming-of-age in a polygamist family. Ruth Wariner was the thirty-ninth of her father's forty-two children. Growing up on a farm in rural Mexico, where authorities turn a blind eye to the practices of her community, Ruth lives in a ramshackle house without indoor plumbing or electricity. At church, preachers teach that God will punish the wicked by destroying the world and that women can only ascend to Heaven by entering into polygamous marriages and giving birth to as many children as possible. After Ruth's father -- the founding prophet of the colony -- is brutally murdered by his brother in a bid for church power, her mother remarries, becoming the second wife of another faithful congregant. In need of government assistance and supplemental income, Ruth and her siblings are carted back and forth between Mexico and the United States, where Ruth's mother collects welfare and her stepfather works a variety of odd jobs. Ruth comes to love the time she spends in the States, realizing that perhaps the community into which she was born is not the right one for her. As she begins to doubt her family's beliefs and question her mother's choices, she struggles to balance her fierce love for her siblings with her determination to forge a better life for herself. Recounted from the innocent and hopeful perspective of a child, this is the memoir of one girl's fight for peace and love.
Publisher: New York : Flatiron Books, 2016
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9781250077691
1250077699
Branch Call Number: BIOGRAPHY 289.3 WARINER 2016
Characteristics: 342 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm

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Join the discussion on September 10, 2018.

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multcolib_darceem Feb 04, 2016

An astonishing story, beautifully told and with generous compassion for her mother and the choices she made for her life. This is a great read for anyone who loved The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls.


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lindsaycostello
May 17, 2018

Powerful and important story. That being said, the writing and editing were both very weak. The text was tediously descriptive and monotonous, with lots of areas in which a good editor could have really helped. The writing was noticeably bad enough to detract from an otherwise enthralling and horrifying story. Many scenes, based on Ruth’s young childhood, felt far too detailed and fact-based to have been accurately remembered. Repetition was a common thread, with many paragraphs going over and over the same information.

The end scene, when Ruth prepares to get married, felt like a lackluster fairy tale that cheapened the otherwise strong message about the horrors that a misogynistic culture enacted on her family. Instead of gaining insight into Ruth’s experience raising her brothers and sisters on her own, the reader is offered a rushed description of her monogamous husband and floral arrangements as a consolation prize for having made it through hundreds of pages of details on the family’s abusive upbringing. Ruth’s brother Matt, positioned as a low-key hero throughout the book, is revealed to have become a polygamist himself, one of many reasons the outcome of the book felt unsatisfying.

I am empowered by Ruth’s strength and resilience, but wouldn’t recommend this book.

ArapahoeKayla Mar 15, 2018

An incredible memoir I could not put down. So shocking you can't help getting attached to the author and her family and hanging on her every word to see what happens to them all.

t
thelibrarylush
Jan 22, 2018

I highly recommend listening to this on audio, as the author reads it. However, having the author read it does add to the intensity of the story. Overall, a wonderful read on family and human resiliency.

r
riverbedp
Jan 03, 2018

Yes to what srbosman wrote in Oct 2016, apt commentary. Strong triggers for FatherGod and HusbandTyrant oppression. This child has remarkable resilience to come out of growing-up as such a good person. Worth a read, lots of action and interaction between kinfolk.

In her memoir Ruth Wariner recounts her childhood growing up in a polygamous community in Mexico. While the book can be very dark at times, Ruth's love and devotion to her siblings shine through. This is a quick read, but a very troubling topic. The teachings of Ruth's church encouraged polygamy and many of these families were very large, but poor. An interesting read and eye opening read.

JCLColleenO Jul 06, 2017

The author gives a candid account of her early childhood & teenage years growing up in a polygamist colony. This book gives readers a behind the scenes look into the trials & tribulations of the people living polygamy’s struggle to remain faithful. The reader develops a relationship with Ruthie through the challenges she endures with her step-father & taking care of the needs of her younger siblings. This is an inspiring tale of a young girl finding her place in the world & overcoming the situations that threaten to hold her back.

a
asoria
Jun 15, 2017

A very well composed memoir. She creates a clear image for readers that effectively portrays the pain, sadness, and joys of her childhood. The book moves quickly; definitely the type of book you'll stay up late reading because you can't go to bed not knowing. In many ways this book reminded me of The Glass Castle.

d
Daylight62
Jan 03, 2017

Very well written and interesting memoir. Story of a very strong, selfless girl/young woman dealing with poverty, family disfunction and abuse within a polygamist colony.

ArapahoeLesley Nov 17, 2016

Heartbreaking, devastating and often painful, Wariner's story is worth a read.

c
cardigramma
Sep 29, 2016

This was a hard book to read since it details the authors abuse by her step-father.

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