The Sound of Gravel

The Sound of Gravel

A Memoir

Book - 2016
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The Sound of Gravel is Ruth Wariner's unforgettable and deeply moving story of growing up in a polygamist Mormon doomsday community. The thirty-ninth of her father's forty-one children, Ruth is raised on a farm in the hills of Mexico, where polygamy is practiced without fear of legal persecution. There, Ruth's family lives in a home without indoor plumbing or electricity and attends a church where preachers teach that God will punish the wicked by destroying the world. In need of government assistance and supplemental income, Ruth and her siblings are carted back and forth between Mexico and the United States, where her mother collects welfare and her father works a variety of odd jobs. Ruth comes to love the time she spends in the States, realising that perhaps the belief system into which she was born is not the one for her. As she enters her teen years, she becomes a victim of abuse in a community in which opposition toward men is tantamount to arguing with God. Finally, and only after devastating tragedy, Ruth finds an opportunity to escape. Recounted from the innocent and hopeful perspective of a child, The Sound of Gravel is the remarkable true story of a girl forced to define a place for herself within a community of misguided believers. This is a gripping tale of triumph, courage, resilience, and love.
Publisher: New York :, Flatiron Books,, 2016
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781250077691
Branch Call Number: ANF 289.3092 WAR
Characteristics: 342 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm

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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.

j
Jersey_Girl
Aug 12, 2017

You will not be able to put down this book once you start reading it. Unfortunately, you will, at times wish you could put it down. And get many of the images it produces out of your head. A young girl is born to a Mother who lives a polygamous life. Sometimes, a polygamous family can work out, but in this case it doesn't. After her first husband dies, the Mother in the story, "marries" (she is his 2nd wife, so she is not legally his wife) and once again takes her children to live down in a polygamous "town/compound" in Mexico. Animals take better care and care more about their kids than this woman does. Her 2nd "husband" is a monster and she is one too for letting him get by with his lack of care for the children he keeps creating with all his "wives" (eventually there are 4 wives). He could care less about his children...do they have enough to eat, do they have a decent place to live etc. He and his 2nd "wife" do make sure that any and all of their kids are born in the USA, so once a month, they can travel from Mexico up to Texas to collect their Wellfare and/or SSI checks and food stamps etc. I could not put this book down even though at times it brought tears to my eyes. I like what one of the earlier comment writers said "Heartbreaking, devastating and often painful. And I might add, there are times when I wanted to close this book and throw it against a wall! It is a true story and we as human beings should read it and be aware of things like this going on. I assigned 5 stars to this comment, but it only comes up with 4. ???

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.

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