Review: The Sound of Gravel
I am my mother’s fourth child and my father’s thirty-ninth
Thus begins The Sound of Gravel, Ruth Wariner‘s memoir of growing up in Colonia LeBaron, a Mexican town populated by members of the polygamist Church of the Firstborn of the Fulness of Time. A church founded by her grandfather and later headed by her own father who was killed when Wariner was just three months old. Wariner’s mother remarried when she was three years old and their family continued to grow. Wariner’s stepfather wasn’t around that much – he worked odd jobs in the US and had multiple families to visit – and her mother struggled to take care of her family.
Wariner and her mother and siblings returned to the US on a regular basis to collect welfare and visit family and, as Wariner got older, she came to realize not everyone lived the way they did and she began to question her family’s beliefs but didn’t know how to make a better life for herself and her siblings.
I’m not sure why but I’m fascinated with polygamist sects the way some people are with British royalty. I love memoirs as well, so I thought The Sound of Gravel would be the perfect book for me and, boy, was I right! I found this book to be tragic and heartbreaking yet I couldn’t put it down. Things were tough for Wariner growing up but she was scrappy and resilient. Her childhood was so harrowing, I found myself reading the book with a sense of dread but I had to know how things turned out so I turned the pages as fast as I could.
The Sound of Gravel is the well written account of what it’s like to be a female in a polygamist sect. Told from the point of view of a young girl, it’s difficult to read at times but it’s ultimately inspiring. Pick this one up if you enjoy memoirs.