kode adsense disini
Hot Best Seller

The Sound of Gravel: A Memoir

Availability: Ready to download

A riveting, deeply-affecting true story of one girl's coming-of-age in a polygamist cult. Ruth Wariner was the thirty-ninth of her father’s forty-two children. Growing up on a farm in rural Mexico, where authorities turned 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 G A riveting, deeply-affecting true story of one girl's coming-of-age in a polygamist cult. Ruth Wariner was the thirty-ninth of her father’s forty-two children. Growing up on a farm in rural Mexico, where authorities turned 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 man who had been 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 her 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 Ruth 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, The Sound of Gravel is the remarkable true story of a girl fighting for peace and love. This is an intimate, gripping tale of triumph, courage, and resilience.


Compare
kode adsense disini

A riveting, deeply-affecting true story of one girl's coming-of-age in a polygamist cult. Ruth Wariner was the thirty-ninth of her father’s forty-two children. Growing up on a farm in rural Mexico, where authorities turned 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 G A riveting, deeply-affecting true story of one girl's coming-of-age in a polygamist cult. Ruth Wariner was the thirty-ninth of her father’s forty-two children. Growing up on a farm in rural Mexico, where authorities turned 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 man who had been 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 her 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 Ruth 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, The Sound of Gravel is the remarkable true story of a girl fighting for peace and love. This is an intimate, gripping tale of triumph, courage, and resilience.

30 review for The Sound of Gravel: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Anna LeBaron

    The Sound of Gravel is RIVETING. I read it in two sittings and could hardly put it down until I had read the last page. It was like she was telling my own story, because in many ways she was. We both lived the same deprived childhoods in a polygamist cult that eventually turned violent and deadly. The scenes she described were all too familiar to me, reminding me of my own very distant past. I was given an Advance Reader Copy of this book by the author, who just happens to be my cousin. Up until The Sound of Gravel is RIVETING. I read it in two sittings and could hardly put it down until I had read the last page. It was like she was telling my own story, because in many ways she was. We both lived the same deprived childhoods in a polygamist cult that eventually turned violent and deadly. The scenes she described were all too familiar to me, reminding me of my own very distant past. I was given an Advance Reader Copy of this book by the author, who just happens to be my cousin. Up until the day I found Ruth on Twitter - Oct 21, 2015, after reading a comment on a Goodreads book review of The Sound of Gravel - I did not know Ruth even existed. We share a very painful history between our deceased fathers, Ervil and Joel LeBaron, a 1970's version of the Cain and Abel story, respectively, with my father Ervil being the modern day Cain. This shared history is the subject of her book, so I will not add any spoilers, and it is the subject of my yet to be published memoir. {Update: my memoir will be published by Tyndale Momentum, Spring 2017!} Ruth and I tell our stories from the opposite sides of a feuding family. Our families were split apart the day my father, Ervil, ordered a "Blood Covenant" hit on her father, Joel. Our families had not spoken in over four decades...until our chance encounter on Twitter. On Nov 16, 2015 I posted a screenshot of our chance encounter on Twitter (@annketurah). Look for my Tweet tagging Ruth (@ruthwariner) and her publicist, Marlena (@lenabitts) and others, with the hashtags: #goodreads #the4500launches #SoundOfGravel, if you'd like to go find it. Ruth and I are living out the end of this story as I type this review. We have never met in person and are looking forward to the day when we can physically embrace, while symbolically restoring our families to one another. {Update: we met in December 2015!} We understand fully that each member of our respective families may not feel ready to embrace these changes. Ruth and I are both in agreement that the timing of their own healing journey is a very personal matter and we will respect this to the best of our ability, while embracing our familial connection online, and when we finally meet in person. UPDATE: My book, The Polygamist's Daughter, will be published March 21, 2017 by Tyndale. You can find out more about it at www.AnnaLeBaron.com. Contact me through my website if you are interested in an Advance Reader Copy.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    My heart goes out to this young woman for her honesty, strength and courage in the writing of this memoir. I, no matter how much I read, will ever understand the mindset of women who join or become involved in cults or religions such as these when there is so little of benefit to themselves and their children. That this mother loved her children is apparent, she worked incredibly hard, tried to make things special at times, yet failed to defend them when they needed her most. I honestly don't ge My heart goes out to this young woman for her honesty, strength and courage in the writing of this memoir. I, no matter how much I read, will ever understand the mindset of women who join or become involved in cults or religions such as these when there is so little of benefit to themselves and their children. That this mother loved her children is apparent, she worked incredibly hard, tried to make things special at times, yet failed to defend them when they needed her most. I honestly don't get it. Parts of this story made me so angry, the welfare scams for instance, the abuse for another, other parts parts so sad, definitely affects the readers emotions. The rawness and the unsentimental way this young woman has of telling her story is wrenching, not sure I could. That she not only got out but raised her younger siblings is a testament to her own strength of will. Not sure what else to say except this is a hard story to read, harder still to understand and that I wish the author all the best that the world can offer. Quite frankly I am stunned.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elyse

    Ruth Wariner's memoir about her childhood should come with a warning: GUARANTEED to keep you awake during sleeping hours. Ruth grew up in LeBaron, Mexico....a small town in the Mexican countryside 200 miles south of El Paso, Texas,....in a fundamentalist Mormon family that believed in the polygamist teaching. "The Colony", is what they called it. Her grandfather, Alma Dayer LaBaron was the founder in 1944. I've read other stories and seen movies of polygamy 'compounds' in the United States. I've p Ruth Wariner's memoir about her childhood should come with a warning: GUARANTEED to keep you awake during sleeping hours. Ruth grew up in LeBaron, Mexico....a small town in the Mexican countryside 200 miles south of El Paso, Texas,....in a fundamentalist Mormon family that believed in the polygamist teaching. "The Colony", is what they called it. Her grandfather, Alma Dayer LaBaron was the founder in 1944. I've read other stories and seen movies of polygamy 'compounds' in the United States. I've personally met adult woman who were children from Utah - who were raised with more than one mother ...many brothers and sisters ...who actually talked about their families with an odd-type-of normality. ( granted the two woman I knew were in monogamous marriages themselves - by choice a as adults). So, I had heard horror stories .... I had also ( shockingly in itself), heard a couple people share their 'positive ' stories being a child in this environment.... But....Ruth Wariner's experience wasn't was I expected. It was much more gut wrenching ....( for 'added' reasons which had nothing to do with how many fathers she had or how many sister-wives her mother had). The story she tells goes beyond 'scripture bible' lifestyle practices. With 'several' siblings in her household in need of serious help with their disabilities, with one of them becoming a danger to the other siblings as she ages, not enough adequate food, no electricity, no indoor bathroom, lack of adult supervision, neglect, physical verbal and sexual abuse, fear, more pregnancies, filth & poverty, loss & grief, .... life at times went from chaotic and crazy to pure insanity!! My frickin God ....I was dying ... getting closer to the end of Ruth's story...and I'm thinking of my aunt's famous last words whenever my life looks grim... My aunts famous last words...."ALL STORMS END" I'm thinking... "HOW MUCH LONGER UNTIL THIS HELL of a STORM ENDS FOR RUTH WARINER AND HER FAMILY"? geeeeeeeeeeee, enough!!! By the end of this memoir I was exhausted and in tears. The narrative is beautifully written... This exceptional human being....loving, passionate *Ruth*, survives many insurmountable hardships ... bamboozled one too many times ... Her resilience and 'organic love' for her family is absolutely astounding!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Esil

    Geez Louise! This is a heartbreaking memoir that made me sad and mad over and over again. Ruth Wariner's mother was a member of the LeBaron Mormon fundamentalist church based in Mexico. Ruth was the fourth of 10 children. Her father died when she was a baby, and her mother then became the second wife of a man who eventually had four wives and 24 children. There is no question that Ruth loved her mother, but as she recounts her story she doesn't present a rosy picture of the world in which her mo Geez Louise! This is a heartbreaking memoir that made me sad and mad over and over again. Ruth Wariner's mother was a member of the LeBaron Mormon fundamentalist church based in Mexico. Ruth was the fourth of 10 children. Her father died when she was a baby, and her mother then became the second wife of a man who eventually had four wives and 24 children. There is no question that Ruth loved her mother, but as she recounts her story she doesn't present a rosy picture of the world in which her mother raised her. Ruth's childhood and adolescence are a tale of hardship, poverty, abuse, neglect and blind faith in principles that harmed the community's children over and over. Ruth recounts in painful detail how her mother was completely ill equipped -- both emotionally and financially -- to care for so many children. And how her stepfather -- well there are no words other than swear words to describe her stepfather. The only silver lining is Ruth's strong spirit and the supernatural dedication she and her siblings had for each other. At times, Ruth's story was almost unbearable. If you have the stomach for such sad stories, this is well worth reading. Ruth tells her story in a way that brings her childhood to life in lively and credible detail. But, oh man, be prepared to be absolutely heartbroken and furious. I listened to the audio. Ruth Wariner does the narration herself. She is an excellent narrator, and it provides some relief to hear her confident, sensible adult voice narrating the details of her heartbreaking childhood.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cheri

    The rest of us followed silently, watching and listening as Mom took a wide step over the highway shoulder and onto the dirt road, the gravel crunching beneath her footsteps, the sound of home. The Church of the Firstborn is a church founded by an excommunicated (LDS) Mormon by 1924, who was excommunicated for teaching / promoting and practicing plural marriage. While it is true that the LDS Mormon church at one time allowed plural marriage for approximately 60 years (almost twenty of those in “s The rest of us followed silently, watching and listening as Mom took a wide step over the highway shoulder and onto the dirt road, the gravel crunching beneath her footsteps, the sound of home. The Church of the Firstborn is a church founded by an excommunicated (LDS) Mormon by 1924, who was excommunicated for teaching / promoting and practicing plural marriage. While it is true that the LDS Mormon church at one time allowed plural marriage for approximately 60 years (almost twenty of those in “secret”), that ended 1890, and even then, only 20-30% all Mormons were polygamists. At that time, Utah was still not even a U.S. State. Nor was it the only state or church the only one previously allowing the practice of polygamy. Different sects of both the “mainstream” LDS “Mormon” church and the FLDS (Fundamentalist LDS) or RLDS (Reorganized LDS) churches are groups that were originally comprised of members who were formerly LDS Mormon. RLDS believed that Joseph Smith III should be the prophet (son of the founder of the LDS Mormon Church, Joseph Smith) – in other words, they objected to the Brigham Young as successor to Joseph Smith II after he was murdered (along with his brother). In recent years, the RLDS church changed their name to Community of Christ. Most of the sects that the press has labeled a variation of Mormonism are branches (or branches off branches off branches) of the FLDS. The Church of the Firstborn was founded in LeBaron by Ruth Wariner’s grandfather – Alma Dayer LeBaron. His son was Joel F. LeBaron. In 1965, when her mother, Kathy, married Joel, she became his fifth wife. In August of 1972, Joel’s brother Ervil – who had formed an offshoot of the Church of the Firstborn ordered the execution of his brother by two of his followers. A few months later, Ruth was born. I am my mother’s fourth child and my father’s thirty-ninth.” Ruth grew up in LeBaron, Mexico, not too far from El Paso, Texas, daughter of Joel F. LeBaon, the former prophet of this polygamous sect, an offshoot of the FLDS Church. Ruth’s mother remarried after the murder of her husband, bringing into the marriage her then four children. Ruth’s stepfather, Lane, was also a member of the Church of the Firstborn. To say they lived a frugal existence would be an understatement. They made me feel almost righteous for living without, as if being poor were the same as being humble and good. They lived despite their circumstances, which were bleak at best, horrendous, unsafe and, at times, brutal. And that’s the better days, those leave out the moments when Ruth’s stepfather would turn from trying to charm them into believing whatever he was trying to “sell” or force them to do, into a blind rage directed at whoever happened to be in his way, regardless of age. As more wives and more children were added, the tensions mounted. Their “home” lacked anything most of us would consider normal. No indoor plumbing, electricity – and when it was eventually hooked up to their home it was done in a completely unsafe way. Education, for Ruth, was on a day-by-day basis depending on how much Ruth’s mother needed her that day, that month, that year. The list of things wrong is long, and there is much that is hard to stomach. As soon as we got home, we crammed our clothes into plastic bags and threw them into the back of the van. Mom flattened the gray vinyl seats and packed them with quilts so we could lie down if we wanted. She bolted out of the driveway as if she couldn’t get away from that house fast enough, and within a few short minutes we were on the highway headed for the Texas border. I gave Meri a bottle while I lay on the quilts and looked outside the window. I couldn’t stop thinking about how we would get to see my cousins more often. They wouldn’t be as far away from Grandma and Grandpa as they were from LeBaron. A rainbow rose from a mesquite field in the distance and split the gray clouds in the sky. I imagine it had been there all morning but I’d been too sad to notice it. Seeing it now, I took it as a sign from God, a sign that everything was going to be okay. I had hoped to read this earlier, and have been on the wait-list for this from my library for a long time. I’m so glad I finally was able to read this. It is a testament to the human spirit that anyone was able to survive this childhood and come out of it with such personal strength and any positive view of their life. Recommended

  6. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Leopold

    https://suzyapproved.wordpress.com/20... https://www.facebook.com/Suzy-Approve... id you ever wonder about those who were raised in a polygamist community? The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner is a firsthand account of a child growing up in a colony in rural Mexico. Ruth’s father was the founding prophet of the colony but he died when she was young leaving her to be raised by the textbook “evil” stepfather. Her family lives in an unfinished house lacking indoor plumbing, electricity with no means of https://suzyapproved.wordpress.com/20... https://www.facebook.com/Suzy-Approve... id you ever wonder about those who were raised in a polygamist community? The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner is a firsthand account of a child growing up in a colony in rural Mexico. Ruth’s father was the founding prophet of the colony but he died when she was young leaving her to be raised by the textbook “evil” stepfather. Her family lives in an unfinished house lacking indoor plumbing, electricity with no means of communication. The home is in such disrepair because her mother remarried a man who is neglectful. Ruth’s family is forced to cross the border into the US to collect welfare benefits every month. Adults are painted as neglectful and self-serving. For example, Ruth’s education was shortened because her mother needed help with the siblings. There were times that the children are left unattended for days with no adult supervision. I read the book in two days and it gave me real insight to the issues that the author faced and how she came out on the other side. A sad book, but definitely worth your time. Book giveaway on my blog until 2/23 https://www.facebook.com/suzyapproved...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Heidi The Hippie Reader

    The Sound of Gravel is in the running for my favorite book club read this year! (Bull Mountain is the other pick I really enjoyed.) It is Ruth Warnier's memoir about her poverty stricken childhood in a polygamist cult in Mexico, her dysfunctional mother, abusive step-father, and struggle for survival along with her many siblings. She pulls you in, first line: "I am my mother's fourth child and my father's thirty-ninth." pg 10, ebook. I read that sentence to my husband and his reaction was, "Are y The Sound of Gravel is in the running for my favorite book club read this year! (Bull Mountain is the other pick I really enjoyed.) It is Ruth Warnier's memoir about her poverty stricken childhood in a polygamist cult in Mexico, her dysfunctional mother, abusive step-father, and struggle for survival along with her many siblings. She pulls you in, first line: "I am my mother's fourth child and my father's thirty-ninth." pg 10, ebook. I read that sentence to my husband and his reaction was, "Are you reading a book about royalty?" Unfortunately, no. Ruthie's father was a founding member of the "Firstborns", a polygamist group that broke away from the Mormon church. He believed that, in order to live in the manner that God intended, men are supposed to have multiple wives and as many children as possible, to become like gods in the next life. He lived what he preached. But, unlike members of royal families, Ruthie's father, and later her stepfather, did not have the resources available to allow his wives to live in houses with running water or electricity. It is a hard existence but Ruth's parents live it because of their faith. "After all," she said, "it is better to have ten percent of one good man than to have one hundred percent of a bad one." The women of LeBaron (the colony in Mexico) were always saying that..." pg 12, ebook. But what about ten percent of a bad man... At first, Ruth's stepfather seems almost normal: "Everyone in the colony was always saying how Lane had a strong work ethic. He spent every day milking cows, planting and baling hay, fixing tractors, trucks, and other equipment- all of which broke down regularly. But in spite of all his hard work, he never made enough money to provide for his eleven kids and stepchildren." pg 21, ebook. And his family grew larger than that quite quickly. But, after a short time, he begins to show his true self. It's hard to imagine the level of poverty that Ruth and her family endured. Every month, her mother and all of her brothers and sisters made their way by bus from Mexico to the US to collect government assistance. The trip took all day and when they got back, if stepfather Lane did not show up at the bus stop to pick them up, they had to walk a mile home. "The rest of us followed silently, watching and listening as Mom took a wide step over the highway shoulder and onto the dirt road, the gravel crunching beneath her footsteps, the sound of home." pg 29, ebook. Ruth's mother tries to do what she can for her children but there's only so much a perpetually pregnant, struggling mother of five (or more) can do. (view spoiler)[Though, when she wouldn't leave Lane after he started to sexually abuse her child, I lost most of my respect for her. (hide spoiler)] Some of Ruth's siblings suffer from disabilities that make it dangerous for them to be left alone with any of the younger ones. After reading what her childhood was like, I am simply amazed that Ruth survived to write this book. Major trigger warnings for sensitive readers: there are some seriously disturbing scenes of child abuse and domestic violence. But, it is worth the read. The Sound of Gravel is ultimately uplifting, inspiring, and I highly recommend it. A few similar memoirs: Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis , Pigs Can't Swim, or A Girl Named Zippy.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kalen

    What a fantastic book. Anyone who knows my reading style knows that I'm not a huge fan of memoir. Honestly, I think most people who have written them are either too young or (and I don't think there's a good way to say this without sounding like an ass...) don't really have that much to say that I am interested in reading about. But when I heard about The Sound of Gravel, I was instantly intrigued: this is not your run-of-the-mill memoir. This one will knock you off your feet. Ruth Wariner is ab What a fantastic book. Anyone who knows my reading style knows that I'm not a huge fan of memoir. Honestly, I think most people who have written them are either too young or (and I don't think there's a good way to say this without sounding like an ass...) don't really have that much to say that I am interested in reading about. But when I heard about The Sound of Gravel, I was instantly intrigued: this is not your run-of-the-mill memoir. This one will knock you off your feet. Ruth Wariner is about my age (I think I'm a little older than her) and she experienced more in her early years than most of us, thankfully, will experience in our entire lives. This is the story of being raised in a polygamist family and it is one of those stories that is so harrowing you can't believe it isn't fiction, the product of someone's imagination. I lost count of how many times I audibly said, "Jesus Christ" while I was reading and I teared up several times, something I haven't done since reading A Little Life. What makes this book fascinating goes well beyond the voyeuristic aspects of looking at someone else's upbringing that was so vastly different than your own, but how to Wariner and her siblings this was normal life. They didn't know until they started to get older and spent time with their maternal grandparents that things weren't quite right. And for living in such poverty and having so few material comforts, there is much power in the simple, basic things we can all relate to when Wariner recalls the smell of the strawberry shampoo and the feeling of being toweled off by her mom, though the bath water had been murky and the towel was already wet from the last sibling's bath. How Wariner came through these experiences in one piece is astounding and her story is going to stay with me for a long, long time. I wish everyone could read this right now but add it to your To Be Read list because January will be here before you know it. (Disclosure: I know Ruthie and her husband Alan through our publishers' trade association.)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Diane Yannick

    Oh good heavens above. I read this book voraciously, ignoring the rest of my life completely. Ruth Wariner's courage is inconceivable. She grew up in a fanatical Mormon polygamist Doomsday cult in Mexico. The hardships (such a lame word for what she endured) were recounted without a single shred of self pity. She shares her riveting life story from her earliest memories as a child to her life as an adult. (Not enough about her current life so I'm hoping for a sequel.) Ruth's mother was totally in Oh good heavens above. I read this book voraciously, ignoring the rest of my life completely. Ruth Wariner's courage is inconceivable. She grew up in a fanatical Mormon polygamist Doomsday cult in Mexico. The hardships (such a lame word for what she endured) were recounted without a single shred of self pity. She shares her riveting life story from her earliest memories as a child to her life as an adult. (Not enough about her current life so I'm hoping for a sequel.) Ruth's mother was totally incapable of showing her what happiness looked like; she could only show her how "to barely survive." Her mother believed with blind faith that "when you're doing what God wants you to do it will always work out for the best". She told Ruth not to worry that "God will always take care of us." It felt to me like God could have done a better job of looking after these defenseless children. Ruth later reflected about "how little mom asked of the world and how even that had been too much for the world to give". As a reader I was not nearly as generous as Ruth about forgiving her mother's shortcomings. For me she committed the unforgivable sin of choosing not to protect her children. "What chance did I have of being heard by the leaders of a church who believed men were in training to be Gods?" Women were at the mercy of men who went from one wife to the next, meeting no one's needs but their own. Maria, Ruth's half-sister was instrumental in planting the radical idea that Ruth's and her futures could possibly hold some personal choices. Her grandparents were also much needed guiding lights. This book made me cry and I hardly ever cry over books I read. There is enough in real life to cry over :--) Thank heavens for the epilogue as I had to know what the future held for my "friend" Ruth. I will have to choose this book to discuss with my book club so they too can be haunted by this amazing story. I like to share my distress whenever possible.

  10. 4 out of 5

    abby

    Holy Moses, this book just about destroyed me. This book isn't a TLC show, and readers going into with a certain sense of schadenfreude about polygamist compounds are going to be disappointed. In the end, this is a tale of what happens when people pursue selfish desires (like religious fervor, ideological purity, and attention from a lover) over the well being of their children. The themes that prevail throughout this book hit a lot closer to home than LeBaron, Mexico. LeBaron is the remote locati Holy Moses, this book just about destroyed me. This book isn't a TLC show, and readers going into with a certain sense of schadenfreude about polygamist compounds are going to be disappointed. In the end, this is a tale of what happens when people pursue selfish desires (like religious fervor, ideological purity, and attention from a lover) over the well being of their children. The themes that prevail throughout this book hit a lot closer to home than LeBaron, Mexico. LeBaron is the remote location Ruth Wariner's grandfather, Alma LeBaron, chose as the home for his polygamist cult. The Firstborns, as the group becomes known, believed the modern Mormon church had lost its way, and that polygamist marriage was one of God's most important decrees, as well as the only path to salvation. They refer to the United States as Babylon, and they feel God will sweep down from the heavens any day now to smote it. No surprise the group feels safer in Mexico-- and it doesn't hurt that government officials down there turn a blind eye to their polygamist and child bride practices. Ruth never knew her father, who was at the time of his death considered the great prophet of the church. He was murdered just months after she was born, at the hands of his own brother in a family-feud-turned-holy-war. Her mother remarries her stepfather, Lane, and Ruth never ever feels comfortable around him. Her young instincts will turn out to be devastatingly correct. Life is always turbulent as Ruth grows up. Her mother and Lane fight a lot, and Ruth can't understand why her mother keeps having babies with him. Unfortunately, several of Ruth's siblings have mental and physical disabilities of varying degrees. It's not an easy challenge to face in any situation, but Ruth's family also has the burden of being dirt poor and living area with no doctors and no social services. They struggle to survive without even the basics-- no electricity or indoor pluming, no telephone, inadequate food. Her family moves around a lot-- in one hovel more cramped than the next-- and when they are in Mexico, they still have to come back to the US frequently to claim benefits. As a "single mother," Ruth's mother collect food stamps and other types of taxpayer aid. The Firstborns see nothing wrong with living off the teat of Babylon. I was definitely left with mixed feelings about Ruth's mother. You could tell she loved her children, but she wasn't willing to fight for them when it counted. It seemed like the more children she had, the more pressure put on her by the polygamist compound lifestyle, the more she lost her free-thinking spirit. It's hard to understand why she put so much faith in Lane when he made a fool of her time and time again, and why she didn't protect her children more. But then I have to wonder she owned total responsibility for her actions when she was so brainwashed and beat down. Through this tumultuous tale, it becomes ever more clear that Ruth is a survivor. She endures more suffering and loss than most and does so with admirable strength. By the end of the book, I was at the edge of my seat, waiting to see if she would escape the cult. I don't think I've come across a memoir where I felt so invested in seeing the author getting a happy ending. I highly recommend this.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nona

    An open letter to Ruth Wariner. Wow. What a story. What a life you were born into and what a strong young woman you were to endure and actually thrive. I could not put your memoir down until I finished it, as painful as it was in so many areas. Congratulations on surviving and best wishes for a happy ever after! You deserve it more than you could know.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chrissie

    This surprised me; it pulled me in much more than I ever thought it would. All too often biographies are written more for the author themselves than for a public audience. This is not the case here. Ruth Wariner's book speaks of events that should be made public and will be of interest to many. She speaks of what it is like to live in a fundamentalist Mormon community. We follow the first fifteen years of her life. Then, at fifteen and with four of her siblings in tow, Ruth Wariner left Colonia Le This surprised me; it pulled me in much more than I ever thought it would. All too often biographies are written more for the author themselves than for a public audience. This is not the case here. Ruth Wariner's book speaks of events that should be made public and will be of interest to many. She speaks of what it is like to live in a fundamentalist Mormon community. We follow the first fifteen years of her life. Then, at fifteen and with four of her siblings in tow, Ruth Wariner left Colonia LeBaron, the polygamist Mormon community established by her grandfather. It is situated in the northwest corner of Chihuahua, Mexico, 200 miles south of El Paso, Texas. I guarantee that both the departure, let's call it escape because that is what it was, as well as the events leading up it are sure to engage you. The events, rather than the writing, are what pull a reader in. This is just as it should be for this story. The events alone deserve your attention. Please do not misunderstand me, the writing is in no way bad. Clear, simple and to the point is the best description. The telling moves forward chronologically. The chapters are organized in a well-structured fashion, so you understand what happens step by step. Then gradually one sees how the events shape each individual. There is little display of emotion in the author´s words. Why this is so becomes evident. Family members are introduced peu à peu, with personal details depicting each. In this way each becomes a unique personality easily distinguishable from the others. As you can imagine, in a polygamous household there are many to keep track of! This is no sob fest. I appreciate that not only difficulties, but also heartwarming memories are detailed. For me this enhances credibility and gives balance to the hardships spoken of. There is deep love between the siblings. Anger and jealousy arise too. Sexual and physical abuse are central themes. That sadness and grief came to be balanced with kindness and warmth makes the book readable. The book zeros in on how the author felt toward her mother and her stepfather and each of her siblings. Each relationship becomes palpable and real. The stepfather’s behavior is (view spoiler)[utterly appalling (hide spoiler)] , and her mother’s too, but in a different way. Is the book simply about one particular family or does it successfully convey a larger message? My reply is yes to the latter. A polygamous relationship often leads to pain, unhappiness and jealousy. It is of little importance how many kids you have but rather how well you care for the ones you have. Kids cost and proper care costs and it is criminal to have more kids than you can properly care for. I am not speaking of luxury standards. I am speaking of what it costs to provide reasonably satisfactory housing, food, medical care and education. The book speaks of this, as well as the love that grows within a family and what it is to be family. The book follows up with an account of what happens to all in the family after leaving Mexico and moving to the US. Are those that should be punished punished? Well, you’ll see what happens. The book failed me on one point. Having read the book, I see clearly why one would seek to leave a polygamous cult, but I fail to understand those women who actually believe in its worth. Partially, this could be a result of how one is raised. Some are unable to escape from chains imposed, but the others, how have they become so brainwashed?! This I fail to understand. The author reads the audiobook. Originally, I thought a professional narrator would have been better, but my view has changed. Her voice adds credence. It is read with down to earth simplicity and this mirrors how the book is written. The two fit well together. I understand the woman better having heard her speak. Both the book as well as its narration I have given four stars. The story, told in all its simplicity, is moving, will engage you and is not over-dramatized.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Mulder

    I thought The Sound of Gravel was a great read. I found Ruth's story intoxicating and well-written (think Jeannette Walls, Glass Castle). Once the story line picked up steam, I couldn't put it down. It's amazing how well-adjusted Ruth seemed even at a young age amidst such chaos and injustice. Definitely recommend!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    I finished this last night and am a little stunned. Truly a phenomenal and believable story of a young girl's commitment to her family--well, except for Lane, he was the devil incarnate! The writing was great and the pace was breakneck; it was a combo of GLASS CASTLE, LIAR'S CLUB, and (near the end) Betty Mahmoody's NOT WITHOUT MY DAUGHTER. Put this on your TBR list for January and also remember this for book group recommendations. Older teens will also like this, especially fans of A CHILD CALL I finished this last night and am a little stunned. Truly a phenomenal and believable story of a young girl's commitment to her family--well, except for Lane, he was the devil incarnate! The writing was great and the pace was breakneck; it was a combo of GLASS CASTLE, LIAR'S CLUB, and (near the end) Betty Mahmoody's NOT WITHOUT MY DAUGHTER. Put this on your TBR list for January and also remember this for book group recommendations. Older teens will also like this, especially fans of A CHILD CALLED IT. Thanks to Macmillan's Flatiron Books for providing the advance reading copy. Update 5/11/18: Recommend this for those who liked Tara Westover's EDUCATED and Cea Person's NORTH OF NORMAL.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    I saw a review of this (from Heidi the Hippie Librarian) around the same time I read and reviewed I Fired God: My Life Inside---and Escape from---the Secret World of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Cult and they seemed related, so I requested it from the library right away. Sometimes whimsy and impulse invert my tbr list and I'm not sorry. This book will be a great read for anyone who got sucked into Big Love or Sister Wives (guilty.) This is the true story of Ruth(ie)'s childhood in Colonia I saw a review of this (from Heidi the Hippie Librarian) around the same time I read and reviewed I Fired God: My Life Inside---and Escape from---the Secret World of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Cult and they seemed related, so I requested it from the library right away. Sometimes whimsy and impulse invert my tbr list and I'm not sorry. This book will be a great read for anyone who got sucked into Big Love or Sister Wives (guilty.) This is the true story of Ruth(ie)'s childhood in Colonia Le Baron, a fundamentalist Mormon polygamist community outside Chihuahua. The official name is Church of the Firstborn of the Fulness (sic) of Times, and is similar to but not affiliated with FDLS. Her family was central in establishing the church, and most of the kids in walking distance from her home are half-siblings or cousins from her father's various wives, or his brothers' wives. Her father was killed by her uncle when she was very young, so most of her childhood is spent occasionally around her stepfather, who also believes in practicing polygamy. Are you sucked in yet? There is a lot of interest here in people living in very poor conditions, practicing religion in an extreme way, yet finding creative ways to get money from the US government. Definite warnings for people who prefer not to read cases of abuse. Very readable, but the writing itself isn't all that moving. Surely to survive this childhood is moving on its own.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dorothy Goebel

    The inner workings of a polygamist colony would be fascinating without any other details. However, The Sound of Gravel shows us the personal side, the private side and all through the eyes of a young, brave girl. The author's understanding of her mother's motives and beliefs as well as her ability to separate the terribly wrong decisions from the love of her mother was riveting. This is a book I could not put down and actually stayed up half the night to finish. The author draws you into her fam The inner workings of a polygamist colony would be fascinating without any other details. However, The Sound of Gravel shows us the personal side, the private side and all through the eyes of a young, brave girl. The author's understanding of her mother's motives and beliefs as well as her ability to separate the terribly wrong decisions from the love of her mother was riveting. This is a book I could not put down and actually stayed up half the night to finish. The author draws you into her family and you fall in love with so many of the people in the book and come to hate a few as well. A book full of emotion and fullness of spirit. Ruth was able to stand up through all the trials of her young life and also able to relate the strangeness of it all. This book really takes you on a dusty, dark journey into a world I never really knew existed. I would love to meet the author and will inquire at my local bookstore of the possibility of upcoming dates. This would make a fascinating motion picture.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    I wonder how many times Ruth Wariner’s writing was interrupted by tears as she recalled her childhood. The Sound of Gravelrecounts a lifestyle that I never imagined existed in this era – one that include polygamous marriages with multitudes of children and unspeakable poverty. She tells her story in a matter-of-fact style that I can only imagine reveals the strength that helped her survive her daily struggles as well as the abuse she endured for years at the hands of her stepfather. Ruth was the I wonder how many times Ruth Wariner’s writing was interrupted by tears as she recalled her childhood. The Sound of Gravelrecounts a lifestyle that I never imagined existed in this era – one that include polygamous marriages with multitudes of children and unspeakable poverty. She tells her story in a matter-of-fact style that I can only imagine reveals the strength that helped her survive her daily struggles as well as the abuse she endured for years at the hands of her stepfather. Ruth was the thirty-ninth child of her father Joel LeBaron’s forty-two children. He was a prophet and leader of an extreme Mormon sect that formed a community called LeBaron in Mexico. The founders had been excommunicated by the LDS for their practice of plural marriage, which was something that church leaders preached was the greatest highest teaching. A man was to have multiple wives, and wives were to bring many new souls into the world in order to reach the highest level of heaven. After Joel was killed, Ruth’s mother Kathy remarried and continued to be true to that tenet, despite the many failings of her husband Lane. As Ruthie gets older, life gets harder. The family continues to grow. Several siblings are disabled. There are many trips back and forth to the States for to work, to collect food stamps and welfare checks, and to visit grandparents. They even live in the States for a time, despite the fears about Babylon and Armageddon. When Ruth describes the tiny ramshackle house they lived in, I cringed. She recalls the stench of mouse droppings, the discomfort of having to share the bed with her older sister Audrey, who wore diapers that leaked at night, having no privacy, no running water, no electricity. Lane was worthless as a husband and father. He was always full of excuses, saying that his first wife also needed a shower, electricity, or whatever. Ruth’s calm narrator demeanor changed whenever she mentioned Lane. She hated that man, despite her mother’s insistence that she needed to forgive. As I read on, I felt sad for the life these children led. I wanted to feel sad for Kathy too, because she married young and believed in her first husband’s teachings wholeheartedly. I felt angry because often she seemed passive, and she didn’t stand up for her kids or herself when I thought she should…except sometimes she did. I felt myself judging the adults, especially Lane, who justified everything by quoting the Bible and the church. If this were fiction, some of his miserable behavior would be too outrageous to be believed. Then I realized is that this book illustrates the human condition. It encompasses our strengths, our weaknesses, our hypocrisy, our compassion, our failures, and our hopes and our courage. From difficulty, pain, and tragedy, Ruth emerged a determined, accomplished woman with an important story to tell. She tells it well. 4 stars

  18. 4 out of 5

    Adine Marc

    I finished this book in one sitting. I am one of Ervil LeBaron's youngest children. Ruth's father is my uncle Joel, my father's brother. Ruth Wariner, the author of this book, is my cousin. Ruth and I were not raised together, as our shared past runs on parallel tracks. As I read Ruth's words, I found echoes of my own childhood. The images her writing portrayed were so vivid to me, that at one point I almost could not finish. She tells her story of pain, abuse, and eventual freedom in an honest I finished this book in one sitting. I am one of Ervil LeBaron's youngest children. Ruth's father is my uncle Joel, my father's brother. Ruth Wariner, the author of this book, is my cousin. Ruth and I were not raised together, as our shared past runs on parallel tracks. As I read Ruth's words, I found echoes of my own childhood. The images her writing portrayed were so vivid to me, that at one point I almost could not finish. She tells her story of pain, abuse, and eventual freedom in an honest and open manner, without self pity. She is able to depict the convoluted logic of the adults around her with amazing accuracy. Logic that my adult self has a difficult time comprehending, even though I was raised to think the same way. How could they allow themselves to be so sucked in? There honestly had to be some sort of disconnect. The fact that Ruth came through all of this whole and intact is a testament to her inner strength and endurance. This book is a must read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    This was an excellent memoir about growing up in a polygamist family. Most people don't know a lot about polygamy except what they hear on the news in rare occasions or the current reality shows about certain families. I, for one, know there are multiple points of view about everything and because someone is in a polygamist family doesn't mean their life is the same as others in the same religion. This book was quite the eye opener for me with the little bit I've learned over the years and quite This was an excellent memoir about growing up in a polygamist family. Most people don't know a lot about polygamy except what they hear on the news in rare occasions or the current reality shows about certain families. I, for one, know there are multiple points of view about everything and because someone is in a polygamist family doesn't mean their life is the same as others in the same religion. This book was quite the eye opener for me with the little bit I've learned over the years and quite the opposite of "the famous Brown family" where they don't seem to want for anything except acceptance. To grow up in this religious lifestyle dirt poor is bad enough for the children in this family but to also deal with a predator on top of that made this a gut wrenching read that was hard to put down. I don't rate a lot of books with 5 stars but this memoir is well deserving of it and highly recommended by me.

  20. 4 out of 5

    DeB MaRtEnS

    This memoir by Ruth Wariner is well written and very interesting. She documents her childhood, living as part of a polygamist sect in Mexico which was a hand to mouth existence in the 1980s. The Sound of Gravel is not sensationalist but it does show a lifestyle where the assertion of faith and single-minded thinking overrode common sense, in the case of this family where the stepfather Lane had four wives, huge families, produced even more children and was an inept and unreliable provider. Ruth' This memoir by Ruth Wariner is well written and very interesting. She documents her childhood, living as part of a polygamist sect in Mexico which was a hand to mouth existence in the 1980s. The Sound of Gravel is not sensationalist but it does show a lifestyle where the assertion of faith and single-minded thinking overrode common sense, in the case of this family where the stepfather Lane had four wives, huge families, produced even more children and was an inept and unreliable provider. Ruth's story is a testament to her strength as well as a journey to understanding so much that was inexplicable to her as a girl. It is a story of polygamy where those lowest in the hierarchy had no identity, were not valued except as a means to enter to Heaven or to access Welfare and food stamps - and from which Ruth rescued her siblings as well as herself. The ignorance, neglect and tunnel vision of Ruth's mother is hard to fathom, and was clearly motivation for the soul searching which Ruth describes in her memoir. I appreciate that she did. 4 strong stars

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Beth

    I won an advance reading copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway. This memoir recounts the author's experiences of growing up a polygamous family. Ruth was born the 39th of her father's 42 children. Her father was killed when she was young and her mother remarried another polygamous man. Ruth and her siblings were raised on a farm in rural Mexico. The details of her physical home - the family lived in extremely impoverished conditions without indoor plumbing, ramshackle or completely absent el I won an advance reading copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway. This memoir recounts the author's experiences of growing up a polygamous family. Ruth was born the 39th of her father's 42 children. Her father was killed when she was young and her mother remarried another polygamous man. Ruth and her siblings were raised on a farm in rural Mexico. The details of her physical home - the family lived in extremely impoverished conditions without indoor plumbing, ramshackle or completely absent electrical wiring, and a poorly insulated home that was freezing in the winter and burning up in the summer. Worse was the abuse that Ruth witnesses as her mother is beaten by her husband. Later, Ruth and several other girls are sexually abused by her stepfather. Several of Ruth's siblings were developmentally delayed and Ruth, as the oldest healthy daughter, was expected to contribute greatly at home and help with her many younger siblings. I've read several other books that focus on polygamy, most recently Daughter of the Saints by Dorothy Allred Solomon and the shocking revelations that emerge from children who escape polygamy continue to horrify me. The image of Ruth and her siblings living in half constructed "houses" full of mice, being left alone with their violent and disturbed older sibling, and avoiding electrical shocks from the many faulty wiring projects half-completed by their stepfather were disturbing to read. Wariner does such an excellent job of conveying her story in straightforward prose and without self-pity. Unlike other polygamy stories, that bog the reader down in family trees that are nearly impossible to unravel, she conveys this complexity with simple anecdotes, such as her first day of school when the little girl beside her leans over and says, "Hey, did you know that we're sisters?" (60). Throughout, Ruth's devotion to her family and siblings was remarkable and inspiring. Although as a reader I absolutely felt the author's hurt and anger over her mother's failure to protect her from sexual abuse and constant failure to protect her children from a life of poverty and poor choices, Wariner is also generous in highlighting the good memories she has from her childhood as well. Glimmers of happiness are seen as young Ruth plays with her friends at school, lovingly welcomes new younger siblings into the family, and appreciates the blessings she does have. Despite her pain, Ruth is overwhelmingly forgiving of her mother as an adult, realizing in hindsight what a difficult life her mother had: "I realized how little she had asked of the world, and how even that had been too much for the world to give" (265). She later elaborates saying, "She wasn't some monster, she was just another human being who'd gone looking for her life and somehow ended up on the wrong path" (271). It was hard to believe the responsibilities that Ruth was expected to shoulder from such a young age, although it seems necessary as her mother had ten children and was mostly raising them alone. Wariner says, "When a new baby entered our home, protocol dictated that the baby who no longer needed to be nursed and burped was handed off to me" (198). It was hard for me to even imagine a young teenager being used to this family "routine" from such a young age. Amazingly after a tragic, freak accident, Ruth eventually assumed full responsibility for her three younger sisters and raised them while putting herself through school. There were times when I felt that Ruth herself seemed almost too good to be true. I also thought the wife that helped Ruth and her siblings escape Mexico seemed to very conveniently change her mind about her lifestyle in the nick of time. Yet this is Ruth's story and sometimes fact is stranger than fiction. I would love to read more about how Ruth and her siblings managed on their own after they finally left the polygamous community in Mexico. This was a heart wrenching memoir about a difficult childhood, yet told in a succinct and easy to follow manner. It was a fast read, as I was eager to know what would happen to Ruth and her family. While it was difficult to read about children living in such impoverished and abusive conditions, I felt relieved to learn that Wariner and her siblings are safe and happy today.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Ruth Wariner's memoir about growing up in a polygamist colony (cult!) in Mexico makes the Glass Castle look like the Crystal Palace. Ruth's story is outrageously harrowing, gut-wrenching, and crazy-making, and the fact that she got to a place where she could tell it is truly amazing. I hope I can catch her on tour - I'm sure I'm not the only one who wants to give her an enormous hug.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ticcoa Leister

    What an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to read an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of The Sound of Gravel! Ruth Wariner has shared the gripping story of her childhood in a remarkably captivating way. Once you pick up this book, you won't be able to put it down. I've already preordered my copy--can't wait to have it on my shelves!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This was a very well done and honest account by the author. I have read other memoirs about abuse but I had not read anything that was based on growing up in a family that believes in polygamy. I appreciated the author telling her story which was very hard to process the abuses, expectations and strains the author experienced as a child. I really commend her for being so transparent.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ingrid Lola

    The most dramatic and heartbreaking polygamy memoir I've read. And it's well written, too!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Lord

    Wariner begins her narrative at 5 years old, explaining that she is her mother's fourth child, her father's thirty-ninth, the product of polygamous Morman sect. While one of Ruth’s happiest memories is with her siblings eating “…a delicious dinner of warm bread, honey, and milk out of cereal bowls,” this ain’t no land of milk’n’honey. Mom and kids live in a cinder block shack in a colony in LeBaron, Mexico - 200 miles south of El Paso. Though there is running water, there’s no indoor bathroom or Wariner begins her narrative at 5 years old, explaining that she is her mother's fourth child, her father's thirty-ninth, the product of polygamous Morman sect. While one of Ruth’s happiest memories is with her siblings eating “…a delicious dinner of warm bread, honey, and milk out of cereal bowls,” this ain’t no land of milk’n’honey. Mom and kids live in a cinder block shack in a colony in LeBaron, Mexico - 200 miles south of El Paso. Though there is running water, there’s no indoor bathroom or electricity, minimal protection during the cold winters, and not a lot of food or creature comforts. At least one sibling has an intellectual disability and mom’s new husband is too preoccupied to be useful (also creepy AF, which worsens as Ruth ages). Even though once a month they return to the States “...to collect food stamps, Medicaid, and cash assistance,” the Christmas winter Wariner narrates is heartwrenching; December is “...a dark, frigid kitchen, which reeked of mice droppings.” It's not an unrealistic account, but the hindsight is so cleverly woven in that it's easy to overlook. The young Ruth is sweet-natured, writing, “[l]ife in LeBaron didn't seem bad to me” yet surely doesn't understand that murky, whole-family baths, exposed electrical wiring, and sexual eccentricities are exceptions in the first world. As she matures, with mom pregnant time and again, Ruth questions her mother’s commitment to the community and the culture of near-bedlam that the sect inspires (e.g., all-or-nothing polygamy, baby-making, American Armageddon). Ruth’s ferocious love for her siblings is living proof that heroines come in all shapes and sizes, including this one who saved her family and became (go figure) a high school Spanish teacher in Portland OR. VERDICT: A memoir worth reading. Webster’s defines ‘resilience’ as ‘the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.’ Gravel shows its face - Ruth Wariner’s. Find reviews of books for men at Books for Dudes, Books for Dudes, the online reader's advisory column for men from Library Journal. Copyright Library Journal.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Terri Wino

    Wow. I don't even know how to describe how this book made me feel. I typically do not read memoirs, but it was a category on a reading challenge that I'm doing this year. I had read an article about this book and it sounded interesting, so decided to use it for the challenge. I sure had no idea what I was getting myself into! I don’t want to spoil the progression of the story for anyone, so I'm not going to specify a lot of details, but this book made me feel a gamut of emotions. There were mome Wow. I don't even know how to describe how this book made me feel. I typically do not read memoirs, but it was a category on a reading challenge that I'm doing this year. I had read an article about this book and it sounded interesting, so decided to use it for the challenge. I sure had no idea what I was getting myself into! I don’t want to spoil the progression of the story for anyone, so I'm not going to specify a lot of details, but this book made me feel a gamut of emotions. There were moments -- I'm not going to lie here -- I felt angry and judgemental about women bringing that many children into the world when they have no means to support them other than the welfare system. Tying yourself to an asshole of a man and accepting -- for whatever reason their own self-esteem and beliefs allowed -- the scraps he throws your way while he takes on more wives and has even more children is one thing, but to place your children in harm's way while doing so is unforgivable to me. I don't know that I could ever make peace, let alone forgive, my mother for raising me in the life and environment this author lived through. This book made me feel angry, frustrated, helpless, so very sad in parts...and I'm only the reader. I cannot imagine surviving this childhood, let alone becoming a thriving, productive adult as Ruth has. Yet for as many moments of sadness and frustration as there were, her writing also made me feel the moments of pure joy and happiness that a child experiences when they don't yet know they could have a better way of life and a safer environment to live it in. She made me feel the love she felt for her mom and her siblings, even in the circumstances of their upbringing. This was a great book, full of emotion, that brought out many of MY emotions as I read it. I will end this review as I began it: Wow. (2016 reading challenge category: a biography or memoir)

  28. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    THE SOUND OF GRAVEL by Ruth Wariner What a sad – and horrifying – life these children had foisted upon them by adults who should have cared for and loved them. It is hard to know where to start – with the father who wouldn’t give his children his name, a mother so blinded by faith she puts her children in mortal danger, a community that lives in abject poverty out of fear? – faith? – stupidity? It also shows the inadequacy of border patrols, government assistance, the safety net for children and THE SOUND OF GRAVEL by Ruth Wariner What a sad – and horrifying – life these children had foisted upon them by adults who should have cared for and loved them. It is hard to know where to start – with the father who wouldn’t give his children his name, a mother so blinded by faith she puts her children in mortal danger, a community that lives in abject poverty out of fear? – faith? – stupidity? It also shows the inadequacy of border patrols, government assistance, the safety net for children and women and on and on. Ruth Wariner’s calm retelling of her childhood living in a cult was difficult to read. The life of this family caught in the blindness of the mother to the toxic and heartbreaking reality of her family’s desperation and danger is written in straightforward prose. Ruth’s ability to ultimately save the remaining children is testament to her strength of character. I can’t say that I “enjoyed” this book, but it was certainly riveting reading. I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t learn more about fundamental LDS, but then that was not the point of the book. 5 of 5 stars To the publisher: On pages 9 and 28 there is an entire paragraph describing the “swimming reservoir” that is repeated word for word. It was pretty glaring as I was reading.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Thanks to Flatiron Books for providing this advance reading copy through the Goodreads First Reads Giveaway program Ruth Wariner’s heartbreakingly fascinating story of growing up in a Fundamentalist Mormon polygamist family is very well-written. This is the fastest I’ve read a book in a long time; I found it hard to find a good place to stop reading, because I needed to know what was going to happen next and that these sweet children were going to be okay in the end. It’s unfathomable to me that Thanks to Flatiron Books for providing this advance reading copy through the Goodreads First Reads Giveaway program Ruth Wariner’s heartbreakingly fascinating story of growing up in a Fundamentalist Mormon polygamist family is very well-written. This is the fastest I’ve read a book in a long time; I found it hard to find a good place to stop reading, because I needed to know what was going to happen next and that these sweet children were going to be okay in the end. It’s unfathomable to me that people lived like this in the 20th century and, most likely, still live like this today.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gwen

    The Sound of Gravel grabs your attention, yanks you into the world of polygamy as seen through a child’s eyes, and never lets go. This memoir assails your senses and recreates through sounds, smells, and unflinching sights an unimaginable childhood. One thinks, “It can’t get any worse,” and then it does. The family photos remind you this story really happened. Riveting throughout, I highly recommend this book. I see many avenues for discussion for a book club.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.