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Sound Of Gravel Paperback – April 25, 2017

4.6 out of 5 stars 2,866 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

The Sound of Gravel is a portrait of real courage in a sea of pretenders. Ruth Wariner, you have my respect as a writer and a survivor.” ―Kelly Corrigan, New York Times bestselling author of The Middle Place


"A haunting harrowing testament to survival."
People Magazine

"Wrenching and moving...Wariner is a survivor, but more important, she’s a fantastic writer."
Entertainment Weekly

"An addictive chronicle of a polygamist community"
New York Magazine

“Engrossingly readable from start to finish... an unsentimental yet wholly moving memoir.”
Kirkus Reviews

"This well-written book is hard to put down and hard to forget."
―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"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

"If your book club is looking for a startling memoir, look no further than The Sound of Gravel. Disturbing, powerful, and poignant, Wariner delivers a harrowing story of survival and taking the necessary risk of saving yourself."
―Real Simple

The Sound of Gravel will haunt you, and Ruth Wariner will inspire with her direct, unsentimental prose. I lost sleep reading this memoir and felt nothing but awe and respect. That Ruth survived to tell this story simply boggles my mind.”
Jennifer Lauck, New York Times bestselling author of Blackbird, Still Waters, Show Me The Way, and Found

The Sound of Gravel is a riveting portrayal of what it's really like to grow up in a polygamist community. Ruth Wariner's simple writing, her enduring love for her mother and siblings, and her dramatic escape make this an engrossing, deeply moving memoir.”
Claire Bidwell Smith, author of The Rules of Inheritance and After This

“What chance does a girl have in a world where men believe that they (and they alone) are destined to be gods? This is the question Ruth Wariner bravely asks as she brings us into the hardscrabble Mormon polygamous communities of remote northern Mexico. Like a Dorothy Allison of the American West, Wariner shows us the humanity and tenacity in the people she comes from while making no apology for wanting something better for herself. Ruth Wariner has given us an unforgettable portrait of an enduring and deeply misunderstood segment of American society and a deeply moving account of her own determined pathway out.”
Joanna Brooks, author of The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith

“A beautifully narrated story that manages to be both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. Told with generosity and without self-pity, I turned each page with admiration of Ruth's resilience and strength of spirit. Powerless as she watches her misguided mother endure a life of servility to her stepfather, Ruth's love for her siblings and determination to break destructive family patterns will fill your heart with hope and triumph. I will not be forgetting this incredible memoir anytime soon.”
Cea Sunrise Person, author of North of Normal: A Memoir of My Wilderness Childhood, My Unusual Family, and How I Survived Both

“I can’t remember a book that’s had a greater impact on me. Beautifully written, Ruth Wariner’s powerful, raw memoir will touch your heart like nothing you’ve read before. Told with unflinching honesty and a childlike innocence, Wariner takes us places―emotional and physical―few will ever experience, or even fathom. Ultimately this book is a testament to the human spirit, a tale of hope. Its stories of tragedy, abuse, trust, and dreams betrayed are more than offset by Wariner’s pure goodness: her courage, determination, wits, resilience, and ultimately, in her quest to save her beloved siblings, triumph. Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven is a very good book. Ruth Wariner’s The Sound of Gravel is a great book, one that will haunt and inspire you for the rest of your life. In her exquisite and powerful telling, Wariner takes us to the darkest recesses of extreme polygamist Mormonism―on a painfully real and personal level―and brings us back to the light.”
April Christofferson, author of Trapped

The Sound of Gravel takes us into the complex relationships of families with intransigent beliefs, religious convictions so dogmatic that harrowing consequences are forced upon their children. Ruth Wariner, this child of an isolated polygamist community, not only survives the oppression, but writes this unaffected tale of compassion and haunting sadness."”
Sonya Lea, author of Wondering Who You Are: A Memoir

The Sound of Gravel is a powerful indictment against religious fundamentalism and the way zealots control and harm generations of women and children. This is an important, and ultimately triumphant, story.”
Julia Scheeres, New York Times bestselling author of Jesus Land and A Thousand Lives

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.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Flatiron Books; Reprint edition (April 25, 2017)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 368 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1250077702
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1250077707
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 11.2 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.43 x 0.92 x 8.25 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 2,866 ratings

About the author

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RUTH WARINER lives in Portland, Oregon. At the age of fifteen, Ruth left Colonia LeBaron, the polygamist Mormon colony where she grew up, and moved to California. She raised her three youngest sisters in California and Oregon. 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.

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
2,866 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on January 5, 2016
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful, Riveting Memoir
By Anna LeBaron on January 5, 2016
I hope that everyone that has experienced a troubled childhood will read this griping and inspiring memoir.

I heard about The Sound of Gravel first on Twitter, when I Tweeted the author, and then later that day found out she is my cousin. Seriously. I was given an Advance Reader Copy and was riveted until I read the last page. Reading Ruth's story was so much like reading about my own life growing up in a violent, polygamist cult. My review is so personal because, even though our lives were separated by the heinous crime my father, Ervil LeBaron had committed against her father, Joel, in 1972, we survived the same type of neglect and deprivation, among other horrors.

Ruth makes the shows, documentaries, news reports and other media you see on television about the fundamentalist Mormons come to life, even as you are wishing nobody ever had to experience such realities.

Thank you, Ruth, for your vulnerability, bravery and courage. I applaud you!

This is a photo of Ruth and I when we met for the very first time on December 3, 2015.
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Reviewed in the United States on January 8, 2016
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ruth's story had me spellbound from the first page as ...
By K. R. L. Mortensen on January 5, 2016
Ruth's story had me spellbound from the first page as I followed her every move, totally captivated by this awe inspiring memoir. When I finished the book my heart yearned to know what happened next? It just ended too soon. My heart has been touched in a way a book or story seldom has. Her courage, strength and determination saved lives and it is my humble belief that her story will continue to impact and inspire others to do the right thing.
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Reviewed in the United States on January 5, 2016
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Reviewed in the United States on September 6, 2016
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Top reviews from other countries

DaniGold85
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest & moving.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 26, 2016
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eilidh Glendinning-Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful story
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 4, 2018
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Kay
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating memoir
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 30, 2017
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myra bowles
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 26, 2017
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brooke101
3.0 out of 5 stars Distressing ...
Reviewed in Canada on March 25, 2021
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