- Published: 2016
- Number of pages: 352 pages
- Format: Epub
- File Size: 1.13 MB
- Authors: Ruth Wariner
The thirty-ninth of her father’s forty-two children, Ruth Wariner grew up in polygamist family on a farm in rural Mexico. In The Sound of Gravel, she offers an unforgettable portrait of the violence that threatened her community, her family’s fierce sense of loyalty, and her own unshakeable belief in the possibility of a better life. An intimate, gripping tale of triumph and courage, The Sound of Gravel is a heart-stopping true story.
From School Library Journal Wariner, whose deceased father had 42 children, grew up in a polygamous Mormon cult town in Mexico. Even though it was the 1970s, having electricity and plumbing in the house was a struggle, and many of her siblings were developmentally disabled, and Ruth had to care for them. Her family moved often—California, Texas, New Mexico, and back to Mexico when all else failed. Schooling wasn’t important, but learning how to make fresh bread and to clean house for her future husband was. In honest, posttherapy fashion, Ruth explains how her mother didn’t divorce her stepfather after physical spousal abuse and repeated sexual abuse of his daughters; the girls were supposed to forgive him instead. With no self-pity, Ruth doesn’t apologize for her mother’s actions—she is grateful for the love of her mother and siblings, though she knows that escaping their stepfather is what ultimately saved them. Teens will root for Ruth and her siblings to survive, cry when the young woman is abused, and fear for the family when things go wrong. VERDICT Fast-paced, sincere, and gut-wrenching, just like Jeannette Walls’s The Glass Castle; this is a must-purchase memoir for high school libraries.—Sarah Hill, Lake Land College, Mattoon, IL –This text refers to the digital edition. About the Author RUTH WARINER lives in Portland, Oregon. After Wariner left Colonia LeBaron, the polygamist Mormon colony where she grew up, she moved to California, where she raised her three youngest sisters. After earning her GED, she put herself through college and graduate school, eventually becoming a high school Spanish teacher. She remains close to her siblings and is happily married. The Sound of Gravel is her first book. –This text refers to the digital edition.
Reviews from Amazon users, collected at the time the book is getting published on UniedVRG. It can be related to shiping or paper quality instead of the book content:
⭐ I hope that everyone that has experienced a troubled childhood will read this griping and inspiring memoir.I heard about The Sound of Gravel first on Twitter, when I Tweeted the author, and then later that day found out she is my cousin. Seriously. I was given an Advance Reader Copy and was riveted until I read the last page. Reading Ruth’s story was so much like reading about my own life growing up in a violent, polygamist cult. My review is so personal because, even though our lives were separated by the heinous crime my father, Ervil LeBaron had committed against her father, Joel, in 1972, we survived the same type of neglect and deprivation, among other horrors.Ruth makes the shows, documentaries, news reports and other media you see on television about the fundamentalist Mormons come to life, even as you are wishing nobody ever had to experience such realities.Thank you, Ruth, for your vulnerability, bravery and courage. I applaud you!This is a photo of Ruth and I when we met for the very first time on December 3, 2015
⭐ It is hard to describe the feelings, the memories, horror, embarrassment and anger this INCREDIBLE, beautifully written book filled me with. Memories because I was there, on the sidelines of Ruth’s account this polygamist group.I knew Ruthie as a young child. I knew her birth father, her step-father, her mother… I knew them well enough to bear witness to the raw truthfulness of Ruth’s account. I’m shaking inside with such anger at what she and her siblings were forced to live through! Horror and disgust brought me to tears at Lane’s enormous, despicable part in her abuse, and at her mother’s spineless blindness. I cringe remembering that my own life so closely paralleled hers… and her mother’s… for most of my younger life.I’m beyond thankful Ruthie had the strength and the grit to stand up for herself and her siblings! And, oh, I’m so happy she is free and strong and has become a brave, truthful voice of the horrors all too often hidden inside the ugly belly of Joseph Smith’s polygamy. This book deserves 10 stars and a top place on the Best Seller list.
⭐ Ruth’s story had me spellbound from the first page as I followed her every move, totally captivated by this awe inspiring memoir. When I finished the book my heart yearned to know what happened next? It just ended too soon. My heart has been touched in a way a book or story seldom has. Her courage, strength and determination saved lives and it is my humble belief that her story will continue to impact and inspire others to do the right thing.
⭐ I can’t believe this is Ruth Wariner’s first book. I just can’t believe she’s a first-time author. Her use of language to convey this gut-wrenchingly stark story is absolutely masterful. As a non-fiction lover I’ve read quite a few memoirs and I can think of none so captivating and utterly gripping as this one.I was given an advance reading copy. I tried not to have expectations one way or the other when I started the book. When I finished the book later that same day, what little expectations I had were far, far exceeded. I look forward to the release date in January so I can re-read.I hope she writes a sequel that picks up where she left off!
⭐ This is the story of the daughter of Mormon cult leader Joel Lebaron who was murdered by his brother Ervil–the Mormon Manson. The book is fascinating, even though it is obviously written by an amateur writer. As some other reviewers said, it is impossible to believe that a person could have such detailed memories of things that happened when she was five–so I think she took some liberties there. I have read at least half a dozen books about the Lebaron cult. Here are some things readers might want to know, or find interesting.1. The author changes many names. The most interesting switch is that “Marjory” is none other than Irene Spencer, author of Shattered Dreams and Cult Insanity about the Lebaron cult.2. Irene Spencer was also married to Ruthie’s stepfather Lane. According to her last book, she called the police when she found out he abused Ruthie’s brother. Ruth Wariner doesn’t mention this in her book. However, there are some rather large differences in Ruth and Irene’s story of what happened after the accident. I suspect that Ruth’s version is closer to the truth, but can’t be sure. I think Irene got some of her information about the accident from Lane–not a good source. (Sorry, I’m being vague about this in order to not write spoilers.)3. You may also want to read Daughters of Zion, by Ruth’s aunt Kim Wariner Taylor for more details about Kathy and Joel’s life before he was murdered, and more details about Audrey and the other children.
⭐ I told my reading companion (sister) NOT to read this book. Never have I actually hated the characters in a book with such intensity. It was a great joy when the kids made their escape but pitiful to see that Ruth never saw her mother for the person she really was. When she says how proud or happy her mom would be now, it would be laughable if it were not an insane statement. IF her mother had not died none of them would have been decent and clean living. She would have made sure they were living in Mexico so her stud could live off of America, at least as long as she could have her “piece” of the pie. I gave one star as the book was well written. Where was any true love?
⭐ I am Ruth’s cousin. This book is a testament to her strength and perseverance. I was raised in a very similar way and know how difficult it must have been for her. This book is a must read!
⭐ It is the type of book you read faster and faster because you **need** to know what happens next. Ruth’s writing style is engaging, and her story is more proof of the resiliency of the human spirit.
⭐ After I read the first chapter of Ruth Wariner’s book, I thought it might take a while to finish it. By the end of the second chapter, I couldn’t put it down. I read all day…it was 3 a.m. when I finished reading the Epilogue and Acknowledgements.Yes, there were parts of the book where I felt exhausted, usually whenever her mother would become pregnant again and again and again and again. Still, I recognize her truth as her truth. I was expecting a tale that would provide some insight about polygamy, but what I got was a human interaction story with a complicating layer of polygamy thrown on top. What surprised me the most was that I saw elements of Wariner’s life reflected in my own life even though I share none of her lifestyle or upbringing. In truth, it’s all about humanity and relationships, regardless of circumstances.Note that Wariner’s book ends in her teenage years, although the Epilogue gives us a satisfying note of her adult life and a hint that she overcame some of the worst damage inflicted on her life. It’s also worth noting that Wariner published her memoir in 2015, four years before the massacre that vaulted this religious sect into the nation’s attention. With the background Wariner provided, it’s almost understandable (of course never justifiable) that a massacre would occur there: killing seemed to be inherently intertwined in both the sect’s founding and Wariner’s personal family history. Just don’t name any of your sons Ervil or Lane.
⭐ (NOTE: Review based on Advance Reader’s Copy) Ruth’s memoir of growing up in a polygamist community and her eventual escape from it is one of those books you will not be able to put down until you finish.The truth is, as part of team who read ARC’s I saw other readers talk about how they stayed up late to finish or read it all in one day and I thought it must be hyperbole. Then I got the book myself, started it, and promptly text my boss that I was going to need the next day off so I could finish it (she didn’t agree).Ruth is a baby when her father is murdered and her mom remarries Lane, a man who neglects and abuses his families. Ruth’s family lives in an unfinished home that she describes as smelling like mouse droppings, having no indoor bathroom, or electricity. In this home, her mother raises her children – there are eventually 10 children, three with special needs – with minimal support from her husband, welfare that she crosses the border from Mexico to the US to get, and her own willpower.Her mom is a true believer in the polygamist life and the rules/theology of their particular community. In this, she is both sympathetic and infuriating. I found myself wanting to shake her and “make” her protect her children and stand up for herself.Ruth’s story is rough – there is neglect and abuse, loss and fear. She writes with great love and compassion about her siblings, mom, and grandparents. Even when her mother fails her repeatedly, Ruth acknowledges the failure without bitterness or trying to reason away her mom’s action or inaction. She had done a wonderful job with her family’s story; this book is well worth your time.
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