Be glad in the Lord and rejoice! Psalm 32:11

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Book Review - The Little Way of Ruthie Leming by Rod Dreher

About The Book:

THE LITTLE WAY OF RUTHIE LEMING follows Rod Dreher, a Philadelphia journalist, back to his hometown of St. Francisville, Louisiana (pop. 1,700) in the wake of his younger sister Ruthie's death. When she was diagnosed at age 40 with a virulent form of cancer in 2010, Dreher was moved by the way the community he had left behind rallied around his dying sister, a schoolteacher. He was also struck by the grace and courage with which his sister dealt with the disease that eventually took her life.

In Louisiana for Ruthie's funeral in the fall of 2011, Dreher began to wonder whether the ordinary life Ruthie led in their country town was in fact a path of hidden grandeur, even spiritual greatness, concealed within the modest life of a mother and teacher. In order to explore this revelation, Dreher and his wife decided to leave Philadelphia, move home to help with family responsibilities and have their three children grow up amidst the rituals that had defined his family for five generations-Mardi Gras, L.S.U. football games, and deer hunting.

As David Brooks poignantly described Dreher's journey homeward in a recent New York Times column, Dreher and his wife Julie "decided to accept the limitations of small-town life in exchange for the privilege of being part of a community."

My Thoughts:

I stumbled upon "The Little Way of Ruthie Leming" quite by accident as I was searching for "southern-themed" books to take on vacation with me.  I knew it was a memoir, I knew it was about one man's perspective during his beloved sister's illness and how he coped after her death.  But I didn't know how much this book would touch my heart.

Rod Dreher tells the story of his sister, Ruthie Leming, with love, affection and with just a tiny touch of envy, I think.  He sees how much a part of their hometown she was, and how the community pulled together to help her and her family when she was diagnosed with cancer.  You can almost feel Rod's wonder at all the love that surrounded his sister during this difficult time, and you can feel his longing to have that in his life once again, even if he didn't particularly want to "go home."

This story, and it is the story of both Ruthie and Rod's lives, is heartwarming, heart-breaking, and an absolutely beautiful memorial to both of the Dreher siblings and their families. It was an honor to be allowed a peek into their lives through this book, and it truly makes you want to give thanks for your family and friends and your community, if you are lucky enough to have a close-knit relationship such as Ruthie did with hers.

I highly recommend this book - both as a southern-influenced book, and as a book that would be a great comfort to those who experiencing some of the same paths that Rod and his family have taken through the cancer illness and the resulting mourning period afterwards.

Author Rod Dreher and his sister, Ruthie Leming

About The Author:

Rod Dreher
Rod Dreher has been an editorial writer and columnist for the Dallas Morning News, a film critic for the New York Post and currently writes for The American Conservative. He currently lives in St. Francisville, Louisiana with his wife Julie and his three children.

This is his second book; his first was "Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, Gun-Loving Organic Gardeners, Evangelical Free-Range Farmers, Hip Homeschooling Mamas, Right-Wing Nature Lovers, and Their Diverse Tribe of Countercultural Conservatives Plan to Save America (or At Least the Republican Party)."

Check out his website at http://roddreher.net/ for more information on this book, and for updates on the Leming family as well as the Dreher family.

I purchased this book for my personal library.  I was not compensated for my opinion.

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