With spare, unaffected prose, Ruth Wariner plunges readers headlong into her harrowing childhood in a polygamous, Mormon sect. Failed over and over again by nearly every adult in her life, Wariner never lost the ability to love, nor did her fierce loyalty for her siblings ever waiver. At the age of 15 she also found courage to fight back against the abuse, poverty, and deprivation that marked her childhood to forge a new life for herself and her siblings. The Sound of Gravel is a riveting and courageous story of a true survivor! Recommended By Rebekah A., Powells.com
The Sound of Gravel really wasn't on my radar, but my mom asked me to bring her a copy on my next visit. Of course I opened the book to see what had captured her interest, and I was absorbed from the first page. I have read plenty of stories about love, resilience, and courage, but The Sound of Gravel stands out as one of the best. I love how Ruth Wariner tells her story — in an honest, straightforward way and from her perspective as a child. I also have much admiration for her perseverance, dedication to her family, and amazing accomplishments as an adult. Recommended By Kim S., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A riveting, deeply affecting 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 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 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, The Sound of Gravel
is the remarkable memoir of one girl’s fight for peace and love. This
is an intimate, gripping tale of triumph, courage, and resilience.
"Haunting. Rather than delving into the particulars of the community’s
beliefs, Wariner reveals them as they arise. This gives great depth to
the portrayal of her situation. With power and insight, Wariner’s tale
shows a road to escape from the most confining circumstances." Booklist
"This well-written book is hard to put down and hard to forget." Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Engrossingly readable from start to finish... an unsentimental yet wholly moving memoir.” Kirkus Reviews
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.
Ruth Wariner on PowellsBooks.Blog
"I don't know if I should move to Seattle, Ruth. I don't have a job there, and rent is expensive," my younger sister Elena worried over the phone. "It's gonna be hard to move all...