The Sound of Gravel: A Memoir by Ruth Wariner (A Review by Erin Woodward)

Rating: 5/5*

I rarely review books anymore – I have such an incredible list of amazing bloggers that do it for me. But once in a while, I read a book that touches me so deeply that I feel like it’s my job to ensure it gets into as many hands as humanly possible. This is one of those books. It’s not just that it’s a true story, although that certainly helps, but it’s unlike any story I’ve ever read.

Ruth tells her own very personal tale about growing up in a Polygamist family where her mother shares their father with two other wives. They have no indoor plumbing or electricity and their mother is forever pregnant. Ruth plays a pivotal role in raising her brothers and sisters all the while supporting her mother who is constantly dealing with her own feelings of abandonment and jealousy. I loved it for all the reasons Jeanette Wall’s The Glass Castle spoke to me. I have absolutely nothing in common with the characters yet Ruth’s struggle with religion, human connection, and determining what is good and bad in this world are all universal themes.

It took an incredibly strong woman to write this book, to shed the shame and indignity and to rise above the sadness and create something not only worthwhile but necessary from such tragedy is truly incredible. Ruth’s memoir is a masterpiece and one book we must all read this year.

Review by Erin Woodward