This profoundly moving book deserves a place among spiritual classics such as “A Grief Observed,” by C.S. Lewis and “A Severe Mercy,” by Sheldon Vanauken. The author draws deep meaning out of the untimely death of his sister, Ruthie Leming, with powerful lessons for all. While it is set in the south and wonderfully evocative of the region and culture, St. Francisville, Lousiana, is merely the stage for a drama which has universal implications. Dreher writes with unflinching candor of his complicated relationships with his family members and his home town, ultimately learning from his sister’s “little way,” that a good life, and more specifically a life of Christian discipleship, is found in the crucible of family, community, and graciously serving those close at hand. “Our responsibility,” Dreher writes, “both to ourselves and to each other, is to seek harmony within the limits of what we are given – and to give each other grace.”This book will break your heart in a million pieces, with the emotional climax coming in an unexpected place – but this instant classic will fill those cracks with a refreshingly hopeful outlook on life, and a sense of the mysterious ways of God which give a peace beyond all understanding.I could write more about this life-changing book, but I haven’t spoken to my sister in months. I need to call her right now.
This one is from Dommerdog, in Dallas:
The Little Way of Ruthie Leming is one of those books you shouldn’t start on a weeknight unless you don’t have to rise to an alarm in order to make it somewhere the next morning. It’s a page turner you will not want to put down.
Rod Dreher manages to tell a true story that reads like a story, complete with plot, characters, and meaning. Anybody who has followed Rod the past few years already knows the plot and is acquainted with the central characters; but without flowery literary artifice, he captures the powerful chemistry among the characters that carries us through the story and provides insight into the origins of misperceptions about the people closest to us and the pain involved in discovering what those misperceptions – and their origins – are and trying to set things right.
Reading The Little Way was, for me, like watching The Titanic. I knew up front what was going to happen, but I was so caught up in the characters and story that I was as shocked when Ruthie died as I was when the Titanic hit the iceberg.
The Little Way is a straightforward story about a multifaceted woman who did a lot of good for a lot of people in seemingly very simple ways, but it’s also about the people and culture that formed her and formed them. And it’s also about them. It’s about hurt, joy, suffering, sacrifice, loss, and new beginnings for those left behind.
So settle in for a journey to the Starhill Riviera. You’ll cry, but in a good way.
Thank you both for such incredible reviews. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. I love especially that you both talked about the intense emotion in it, but also about how the book is not just about a good woman who died young, but about a community, a way of life, one’s place in the world, and … hope!
Have you bought The Little Way Of Ruthie Leming? Have you called your Mama this week?