The Sound Of Gravel

I was afraid to go to sleep.

Then again, I didn’t want to, I wanted to stay up another hour or so to finish the book but it was already long past midnight.

There’s initial publicity about books, but most books catch fire and last as a result of word of mouth. That’s how I found this one. Recommended by my sister’s stepdaughter.

Not that I’m open to all recs, but my sister gave her taste a ringing endorsement and I’m always looking for something good, which is hard to find. Most of the best sellers are either genre fiction or not that good or too hard to read or all three. That’s right, I’m talking fiction, made up, I rarely read nonfiction. I don’t need no stinking self-help, it’s not worth anything, the writers are not the readers and the insight is not translatable, then again people have so little confidence in themselves they believe the answers are out there when they’re not, and they’ll pay attention to charlatans, many of them with no CV who are doing it to get rich.

But “The Sound of Gravel” is nonfiction.

Not that it was at the top of my list. Felice read it before I did. But having finished the books at the top of my mental pile I dove in on Thursday night and…

I can’t say that I was hooked at first. But then…

There are a lot of books like this, that take a while to ensnare you, to build up steam. And the problem with the beginning of “The Sound of Gravel” isn’t that it’s hard to read or uninteresting, it’s just that it goes on and on about Mormon cultists in Mexico and you think this is where the entire book is going to be set, it’s hard to relate, but then…

Yes, the writer, Ruth Wariner, was the daughter of a polygamist, who ended up having over thirty children.

And Ruth’s mother had ten children.

But it’s the poverty and blind belief that that stun you, that keep you reading. The fact that people grew up this way, and not so long ago.

And I’m loath to give away any of the story, because it’s the twists and turns that keep you reading. They’re essentially unpredictable. Just when you think the hammer is going to fall, that everything will be set straight and harmony will reign…

And since it’s nonfiction, the unexpected happens. Because truth is stranger than fiction, believe it.

And I was debating with myself when to shut down my Kindle. You know how it is, you make a deal with yourself that you’re going to stop reading at a certain time and then, completely out of the blue, the book you’re reading takes a total left turn that you could never predict and you’re just positively blown away.

I mean I was reading the book in the dark. My Kindle has a light in it. So I felt like I was somewhat in the story, across the street, not that far away. And there’s a little foreshadowing, but what ultimately happens is a complete surprise. And never forget, in nonfiction, everything doesn’t always turn out so well.

So you’ve got these Mormon polygamists. In Mexico because you can’t get away with this in the U.S.

And they are true believers, they’ll sacrifice anything and everything for their beliefs. The pull of their religion has them making one bad choice after another, at least by most people’s standards. But they think they’re the winners and the rest of us are heathens who are going to pay a price.

What is it like to grow up in an environment like this?

You’re just a kid. Your mother is your mother. Remember trying to run away as a little kid? How well did that work? Maybe you were gone for half an hour, you couldn’t be without your mother, never mind forage for yourself out in the real world. And when you’re a kid your parents call all the shots.

So I was afraid I’d have bad dreams. Actually, I did, but not related to the content of the book.

And I woke up and finished it and…

I wasn’t in quite the same mood, after all it was sunny out.

And reviews are fantastic, but there are still some one star ones. People can find fault with anything. Which is why if you’re listening to the feedback, you’re probably inhibited and going in the wrong direction. Not that you should never make adjustments, but today people want you to be who they want you to be, and even that doesn’t satiate them.

So are there some people who won’t like “The Sound of Gravel”? I guess so. Maybe those who can only read sunny, upbeat tomes. But that’s not the way life is, life has ups and downs.

And most of what we see in the media is not real people. We see beautiful people, rich, and their shenanigans. What about those just like us?

We want love. And we’re jealous. And we feel alone and want to be comforted. And giving up just a tiny smidge of attention is so hard that people stay in bad relationships and you mix in some religion and…

“The Sound of Gravel” came out in 2016. But it’s new to you if you haven’t read it yet. And it’s timeless. And scary.

And riveting.

Comments are closed