Sunday, 14 August 2016

"The Sound of Gravel" by Ruth Wariner

   This memoir is 'hot-off-the-press'!
   I love memoirs but I must move on to another genre, because they are so often heart-breaking.  You begin to wonder if anyone is living a 'normal' life.
   But I understand why it is important for these authors to tell their story.  This author, Ruth Wariner, started writing her story in bits and pieces several years ago but was finally able to put the book together with the help of her husband who spent hours walking with her while she struggled through her childhood memories.  And it was a very painful childhood!

  Ruth's father was the founding prophet of a colony of Mormons in Mexico.  He was murdered by his brother for control of the church.  Ruth was the 39th of 42 children.
  Her mother remarried another man from the colony and he caused havoc in their lives.  They lived in poverty and had to constantly go across the border into the U.S. where they could get food stamps and other government assistance.  The mother had nine children, Ruth was the fourth oldest but was the one who mostly raised the children, three of whom had disabilities.
  The father was a 'do-it-yourselfer' who never finished anything.  There were live wires around the property and one day Ruth's young brother was electrocuted with a friend.  When the mother came to help, she was also electrocuted.  By then, an older brother was living in the U.S. and Ruth went to the store to use the phone and told him to come for them immediately.  He drove through the night and Ruth ended up, at 15, raising the younger children in the U.S.
  Miracle of miracles, she also got her education.  She had seldom been able to go to school as a child.  But she eventually put herself through college and graduate school and is now teaching high school in Portland, Oregon.
  The T.V. show "Sister Wives" shows a good side of polygamy.  And I don't see polygamy as the main problem here.  The father was the problem- a molester among other terrible traits.  The mother was so desperate for attention that she accepted whatever came her way. 
  The stirling character of Ruth shines out from the beginning and she is such an inspiration.  I would read anything that she writes in the future.
Three years ago, I read this historical fiction novel: "The 19th Wife", based on the life of Brigham Young (1847-1877), who was the second president of the L.D.S. church and had 55 wives throughout his life.  I really enjoyed this fiction novel, although, ironically, it also includes a murder.

It is my understanding that polygamy has been banned by the Mormons and is presently only practiced by renegade groups.

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