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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."
*Includes reading group guide*
About the Author
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).
If you've ever felt an outsider in your own family, you've got to read this book. If you have ever had any "sibling-issues" you've got to read this book. This true, powerful, deeply-moving, and masterfully-told story is nothing less than a gift. And yes, indeed: it will change lives.
-- Eric Metaxas, New York Times bestselling author of Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
If you are not prepared to cry, to learn, and to have your heart cracked open even a little bit by a true story of love, surrender, sacrifice, and family, then please do not read this book. Otherwise, do your soul a favor, and listen carefully to the unforgettable lessons of Ruthie Leming.
-- Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
Emotionally complex and genuinely affecting.
-- Kirkus Reviews
This is an authentic and deeply touching memoir, which honestly asks many of the best questions about the things that matter. Interacting with this story will change you! -- Wm. Paul Young, author of The Shack and Cross Roads
This book will make you feel hunger pangs for what you didn't know you even missed. And then it will feed you, line upon line, soul bread. As the Israelites ate manna in the desert, Dreher's evocative prose gathers the unforgettable manna moments of Ruthie Leming's life.
--Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
Rod Dreher tells a tale of dear things lost and dear things restored, but also, and unflinchingly, confronts some harder truths about old wounds that never fully heal and old misunderstandings that won't quite go away. This is a book that strives for truth more than beauty-and is all the more beautiful for it.
-Alan Jacobs, author of The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction
"The Little Way of Ruthie Leming is Steel Magnolias for a new generation."
-Sela Ward, Emmy Award-winning actress and author of Homesick