As part of my memoir kick, I picked up The Sound of Gravel. The story of a girl and her siblings growing up in a fundamentalist Mormon compound in Mexico, Ruth Warnier spent her childhood moving between Mexico, California, and Texas.
The house her family lived in on the Le Baron Compound in Mexico was never quite finished, with leaks, holes in the floorboards, occasional electricity, and no running water. In California, she was able to go to school every day, watch TV, and eat more than mashed hot grains for breakfast. In Texas, home was a too small trailer, where she and her brothers were left alone for weeks to fend for themselves.
Now a grown woman who helped get her siblings out of Mexico for good, and raised them before putting herself through college, Warnier writes from the perspective of the child she was at the time events happened.
Her childhood is full of stories of loving school only to be pulled out to learn to work at home, learning to use food stamps, being left at home to care for younger siblings while her mother travels with her step-father. Her childhood will be eye-opening to some – the realities of her childhood with the up and down of homes, finding and losing family, and in and out of school is beautifully told, yet heartbreaking.