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The Little Way of Ruthie Leming: A Southern Girl, a Small Town, and the Secret of a Good Life

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The Little Way of Ruthie Leming: A Southern Girl, a Small Town, and the Secret of a Good Life Cover

ISBN13: 9781455521913
ISBN10: 1455521914
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

THE LITTLE WAY OF RUTHIE LEMING follows Rod Dreher, a Philadelphia journalist, back to his hometown of St. Francisville, Louisiana (pop. 1,700) in the wake of his younger sister Ruthie's death. When she was diagnosed at age 40 with a virulent form of cancer in 2010, Dreher was moved by the way the community he had left behind rallied around his dying sister, a schoolteacher. He was also struck by the grace and courage with which his sister dealt with the disease that eventually took her life. In Louisiana for Ruthie's funeral in the fall of 2011, Dreher began to wonder whether the ordinary life Ruthie led in their country town was in fact a path of hidden grandeur, even spiritual greatness, concealed within the modest life of a mother and teacher. In order to explore this revelation, Dreher and his wife decided to leave Philadelphia, move home to help with family responsibilities and have their three children grow up amidst the rituals that had defined his family for five generations-Mardi Gras, L.S.U. football games, and deer hunting.

As David Brooks poignantly described Dreher's journey homeward in a recent New York Times column, Dreher and his wife Julie "decided to accept the limitations of small-town life in exchange for the privilege of being part of a community."

Review:

"For author and Dallas Morning News columnist Dreher and his baby sister, Ruthie, their tiny Louisiana parish defined them as they grew up, bringing a sense of belonging to her and a need to escape for him. Family and community meant everything to the townspeople, and they routinely gathered at Dreher's parents' home and later his sister's, but he found himself at odds with his father and sister, yearning for experiences beyond the confining borders of the parish. Dreher writes movingly of the struggles within himself and within his family, in particular with his sister. Ruthie became a schoolteacher with a huge impact on her students, beloved by everybody, but with little patience for what she viewed as her brother's snobbish and overly intellectual thinking and lifestyle that grew into lifelong resentments. While Ruthie married her high school sweetheart before graduating from college and was content to never go far from her childhood door, Dreher changed jobs and cities multiple times even after settling down with a wife and kids. It wasn't until his sister is diagnosed at 40 with cancer that he begins to re-evaluate his plans, realizing that after two decades away he is only now able to return, at peace with the decisions he made as he works to get to know his extended family better and tries to forgive and understand them. Through his sister's life and in her death, Dreher, writing in this tender memoir, learns compassion, gratitude, and to focus on the blessings of the moment. Agent: Gary Morris." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Rod Dreher has been an editorial writer and columnist for the Dallas Morning News, a film critic for the New York Post and currently writes for The American Conservative. He currently lives in St. Francisville, Louisiana with his wife Julie and his three children. This is his second book; his first was Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, Gun-Loving Organic Gardeners, Evangelical Free-Range Farmers, Hip Homeschooling Mamas, Right-Wing Nature Lovers, and Their Diverse Tribe of Countercultural Conservatives Plan to Save America (or At Least the Republican Party).

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Carol Jackson, June 7, 2013 (view all comments by Carol Jackson)
The brother of Ruthie Leming wrote this book. It is, indeed, a book about a Southern girl and a small town. Not so much about the secret of a good life. I believe you can have a "good life" not living in a small southern town surrounded by family and with those you grew up. Being greatly loved by both parents. In a house built on family land. After being homecoming queen. Marrying your high school sweetheart that loves you utterly. And having hunting skills yet still being able to be "girly".

The family is full of flaming hysterics (except, apparently, Ruthie). The mother of Ruthie drives 120 mph to get to the hospital after Ruthie dies (of terminal cancer diagnosed over a year previously). The husband does CPR (!) on the poor woman after she dies and then screams at various people. The oldest daughter bangs her head, pounds her fists into the hospital wall and kicks a trash can. And as a final show "threw herself on the ground and wailed".

The brother is also a piece of work. He has "issues" with daddy, i.e. daddy doesn't understand me, daddy thinks he knows what is best for me, daddy doesn't approve of my career choices. Endlessly agonized and obsessed about. He finally finds peace with religion, but not before making the reader want to fly to Louisiana and slap him senseless with the admonition to "grow up, will you?!"

Oddly, for a book about Ruthie, you really don't learn much about her, other then people liked her, she was extraordinarily brave and brother had "issues" with her.

The author has talent but his self-focusing was tiring rather than reader-identifying. Next time, he should write a book about Ruthie.







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Product Details

ISBN:
9781455521913
Subtitle:
A Southern Girl, a Small Town, and the Secret of a Good Life
Author:
Dreher, Rod
Author:
Author
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Subject:
Biography - General
Subject:
Biography-Women
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Brothers and sisters; Siblings; Family relationships; Family conflicts; Reconciliation; Death of a sibling; Personal growth; Personal narratives
Subject:
General Biography
Publication Date:
20130416
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 0.75 in 0.74 lb

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Women
History and Social Science » Americana » Louisiana
History and Social Science » Americana » Southern States
History and Social Science » Politics » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Young Adult » General

The Little Way of Ruthie Leming: A Southern Girl, a Small Town, and the Secret of a Good Life New Hardcover
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$25.99 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Grand Central Publishing - English 9781455521913 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "For author and Dallas Morning News columnist Dreher and his baby sister, Ruthie, their tiny Louisiana parish defined them as they grew up, bringing a sense of belonging to her and a need to escape for him. Family and community meant everything to the townspeople, and they routinely gathered at Dreher's parents' home and later his sister's, but he found himself at odds with his father and sister, yearning for experiences beyond the confining borders of the parish. Dreher writes movingly of the struggles within himself and within his family, in particular with his sister. Ruthie became a schoolteacher with a huge impact on her students, beloved by everybody, but with little patience for what she viewed as her brother's snobbish and overly intellectual thinking and lifestyle that grew into lifelong resentments. While Ruthie married her high school sweetheart before graduating from college and was content to never go far from her childhood door, Dreher changed jobs and cities multiple times even after settling down with a wife and kids. It wasn't until his sister is diagnosed at 40 with cancer that he begins to re-evaluate his plans, realizing that after two decades away he is only now able to return, at peace with the decisions he made as he works to get to know his extended family better and tries to forgive and understand them. Through his sister's life and in her death, Dreher, writing in this tender memoir, learns compassion, gratitude, and to focus on the blessings of the moment. Agent: Gary Morris." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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