Bullet Review: The Sound of Gravel


  • Well-paced, easy entry into the story
  • Author acknowledges her feelings at the time, but doesn’t dwell on them
  • Characters do not disappear from the narrative without the reader being informed51c90zc62bfl-_sx327_bo1204203200_
  • Location becomes an additional character in the book through excellent description
  • Little to no attempt to explain or justify difficult or unusual religious beliefs (letting them stand means they are neither erased nor used as excuses)
  •  The pain is real and the mixed motives of people in the memoir is treated as such


Not for me

  • hard to read so much pain happening to children (though it does)
  • so frustrated with ignoring of sexual abuse that I wanted to quit the book
  • was constantly in fear of a child dying
  • the author is not reflecting, but telling her feelings as they were at the time (I would have liked some reflection as an adult, some of which does happen in the afterword/epilogue.)
  • Due to the nature of the book, there is no advice or guidance given to a reader who might find herself or himself in this type of situation.


Grade: B-

On Amazon, many reviewers rave about this book. It is normally the kind of book that I would devour similarly. My curiosity about polygamous cults knows no bounds, but the pain of this book keeps it from actually fitting smoothly into that category. I would be much more likely to describe this as an account of an abusive childhood, with religious elements or overtones. The reality of this book is what happens when toxic masculinity is conflated with deity. It is hard for me to know if I had to hold my own feelings back in order to finish this book or if the absence of the author’s feelings as an adult on childhood events affected how I read the book.

If you wish to avoid child abuse, sexual abuse, death, spiritual abuse, family dysfunction, grief, or domestic violence, this is likely not the book for you.

If you just cannot get enough of life stories of overcoming nearly impossibly painful odds, then do as I did and check this book out from your library.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s