Ruth Wariner

Teoksen The Sound of Gravel: A Memoir tekijä

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The Sound of Gravel: A Memoir (2015) 671 kappaletta, 42 arvostelua

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Wariner writes about growing up in Colonia LeBaron, in a fundamental and polygamous Mormon family steeped in poverty.

This was a mostly fascinating read, albeit tragic, but the ending seemed too abrupt, coming right when Wariner and her siblings escape the colony. I would have really liked to hear about the first few years of their new life, or at least learned a bit more about the way their lives unfolded. There is a short epilogue, but it isn't very detailed.

The author is very candid when recounting details of her childhood sexual abuse, and the descriptions were fairly graphic.

She includes a scene of her older sister, who is mentally ill, describing her naked body while she has an "episode," for lack of a better word. This description was unnecessarily detailed and struck me as exploitative, since her sister was likely unable to consent to this being in the book.

There is also some profanity.

It was interesting to see how this account fit into the stories told by Kim Taylor (Wariner's aunt) in [b:Daughters of Zion: A Family's Conversion to Polygamy|6135855|Daughters of Zion A Family's Conversion to Polygamy|Kim Taylor||6314450] and Anna LeBaron in [b:The Polygamist's Daughter|30956087|The Polygamist's Daughter|Anna LeBaron||51572088].
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RachelRachelRachel | 41 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Nov 21, 2023 |
I love hated The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner. It was one of my Book of the Month picks last month and I am both glad I read it, but also wish I had not read it at the same time.

This is Wariner's memoir about her life growing up in a polygamous Mormon farm in Mexico and a few other places. She is surrounded mostly by her family only as they live in barely livable conditions and has little interaction with her step father's other families except in church, which her father founded before he was killed by his brother, and in school, where Wariner is taught in Spanish almost exclusively.

Even though life is difficult and as she was growing up two of her elder siblings had disorders of some kind- one mental and another physical, as well as her younger brother having a mental disorder due to malnutrition, her family life was playful and times were ok. They knew they were not like other families, but they made it work.

Unfortunately, it is also the story of Lane, Wariner's step father. He treats Wariner's mother like a baby machine, is abusive, and molests children that aren't his including Ruth. Although that small rule would be broken later in his life. Lane would visit Ruth at night or ask her to sit on his lap during the day or take some of the younger girls (and later boys) on trips for a long time. At one time, he wanted to take Ruth's 2 year old sister on one of his work trips. On these trips, he would touch them and sexually molest them.

There were lots of moments when I was actually yelling at the book, such as when Ruth finally told her mother, her mother and the other mothers made Lane apologize and promise not to do it again. Of course he did it again. Another was when her mother finally escapes the situation, is living a good life with her parents, and then decides she needs to go back to Lane and brings the family back. There are a ton of these moments in the book, so prepare yourself.

What kept me reading was Wariner's ability to tell story. Even though this is her freshman book, she had a way of telling her story that brought the reader in and even made her mother's sometimes foolish decisions make sense. She didn't paint her mother as a religious zealot, but as a mom who didn't really know what to do, had religious values, but was stuck and frozen by these values so much so that she couldn't see the harm that was happening. Many things happen to her mother that are heartbreaking including the end. She is a very tragic figure.

I gave this one 4 stars and highly recommend it, but take it out of the library. I will also warn there are lots of trigger warnings for those who have issues with rape/molestation. If you are a person with those triggers, avoid this one like the plague.
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Nerdyrev1 | 41 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Nov 23, 2022 |
My review of this book can be found on my YouTube Vlog at:

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booklover3258 | 41 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jul 14, 2022 |
Ruth Wariner spent the majority of her childhood and teen years in a rural polygamist community in Mexico, where she was the 39th child of her father's 42 children, and the 4th child of her mother's 10 children. Following her father's death shortly after Ruth's own birth, her mother marries a second time, and Ruth(ie) is forced to live with a stepfather who takes turns spending the nights with his various wives. Meanwhile, all of his wives and children live in poverty and struggle to stay fed while living in homes usually without indoor plumbing or electricity. Spending some time with her mother's somewhat estranged family in the United States and living portions of her childhood in Calilfornia and Texas, Ruthie knows that her family's way of life is not necessarily typical outside of her own community, and as she becomes older, she yearns to escape.

Stories like this make me very angry. It's really very difficult for me to have patience for women who subject themselves to the chauvinistic behavior of men who use religion to brainwash and achieve what they want. While the men in these communities anger me as well, it's the women who anger me more for their weak and spineless behavior. I realize I'm looking at this from an outsider's view, but still. This is a heartbreaking memoir which nearly brought me to tears on several occasions. I thought it was fairly well written, and while the author read her own audiobook, I felt that her voice was too monotone to really do this story justice. I doubt that this will ever make the big screen, but I'd love to see it there someday.
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indygo88 | 41 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jan 10, 2022 |



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