Her mother’s fourth child and her father’s 39th, Ruth Wariner spent her childhood in a polygamist Mormon colony in Chihuahua, Mexico. After Ruth’s father, the man who had been the founding prophet of the colony, is brutally murdered by his brother in a bid for church power, her mother remarries becoming the second wife of another faithful congregant.
Ruth's childhood is spent helping to raise her six younger siblings in a home with half-finished walls and no bathroom while enduring years of sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather. In need of government assistance and supplemental income, Ruth and her siblings are carted back and forth between Mexico and the United States, where Ruth’s mother collects welfare and her stepfather works a variety of odd jobs. Ruth comes to love the time she spent in the States, realizing that perhaps the community into which she was born is not the right one for her. As she begins to doubt her family’s beliefs and questions her mother’s choices, she struggles to balance her fierce love for her siblings with her determination to forge a better life for herself. After a freak accident was followed by new revelations about her stepfather, Ruth fled to the US with her siblings in 1987. She put herself through college and taught high school Spanish for many years before becoming a writer and small business owner. She is happily married and lives with her husband in Lake Oswego.
Compassionate, compelling, intimate, and profound, Ruth’s coming-of-age story, the instant NYT Bestseller The Sound of Gravel, details her childhood in a compelling and intimate way that People Magazine hailed as: “heartbreaking, haunting, yet ultimately uplifting.” Through her story and ongoing commitment to herself and her siblings, Ruth reveals that what we have inside of us is stronger and more powerful than even the most horrific childhood circumstances.