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, New York :, Flatiron Books,, [2016]
Edition: first edition
ISBN: 9781250077691
Branch Call Number: 289.3092 War 3565
Characteristics: 342 pages :,illustrations ;,25 cm


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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 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. ???

Aug 08, 2017

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.

Cynthia_N Jul 01, 2017

Wariner had such a rough childhood. At moments this book is heartbreaking and infuriating. I got very frustrated with her mother and the community she lived in because they were unwilling (I won't say unable) to protect the children. A worthwhile read. If you liked The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls I think you might enjoy this one.

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.

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.

AL_LESLEY Nov 17, 2016

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

Oct 06, 2016

I picked it up and read in 3 hours; couldn't believe that each chapter her life could get any worse than the previous, but it did.

Sep 29, 2016

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

Sep 22, 2016

My Summary: The Sound of Gravel: A Memoir, is the story of one girl’s struggles, trials, and joys while growing up in a Fundamental Mormon community in northern Mexico. Told from first person POV, Ruth Wariner gives an insider’s view into her childhood as a child of a polygamist family.

My Thoughts: Polygamy, the marriage of one man to multiple women, has been in the media a lot over the last decade. From shows like “Sister Wives”, “Big Love”, and “My Five Wives” we have been allowed a small glimpse into the lives of this secretive sect of America. Polygamists, often Fundamental Mormons, a separation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, believe a man is required, by God, to marry multiple wives, in order to bear many children. Some of these men have dozens of wives and more than 50 children, of which he biologically fathered.

Having been interested in Fundamental Mormonism for many years – not as someone who wishes to convert, but more like someone who is driven by curiosity to study the lives of other cultures and religions – I found this book very intriguing. I was instantly drawn into Ruth’s life story. From the roots of her family’s beginnings in the church to the dynamics of her life with her siblings and parents, I found her story absolutely riveting. Within the first few lines of her memoir she had the ability to captivate me in a way that left me longing for answers. This book brought me through so many emotions: love, anger, sadness, regret, heartbreak… and by the end I found myself in tears from this roller coaster she has known as her life.

I would highly recommend this Memoir to anyone who is interested in the Fundamental Mormon lifestyle, or to anyone who loves a wonderful story of astounding courage and bravery.

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