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The Little Way of Ruthie Leming

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 the author's little sister was diagnosed at age 40 with a virulent form of cancer, Dreher was touched by the way the community he had left behind rallied around his dying sister. He was also struck by the grace and courage his sister displayed in the face of death. Back home in Louisiana for Ruthie's funeral in the fall of 2011, Dreher began to wonder whether the ordinary life Ruthie led 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.'
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When a big city writer's small-town sister is diagnosed with cancer, her untimely death teaches him about life, faith and community.

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).


For author and Dallas Morning News columnist Dreher and his baby sister, Ruthie, their tiny Louisiana parish defined them as they grew up, bringing a sense of belonging to her and a need to escape for him. Family and community meant everything to the townspeople, and they routinely gathered at Dreher's parents' home and later his sister's, but he found himself at odds with his father and sister, yearning for experiences beyond the confining borders of the parish. Dreher writes movingly of the struggles within himself and within his family, in particular with his sister. Ruthie became a schoolteacher with a huge impact on her students, beloved by everybody, but with little patience for what she viewed as her brother's snobbish and overly intellectual thinking and lifestyle that grew into lifelong resentments. While Ruthie married her high school sweetheart before graduating from college and was content to never go far from her childhood door, Dreher changed jobs and cities multiple times even after settling down with a wife and kids. It wasn't until his sister is diagnosed at 40 with cancer that he begins to re-evaluate his plans, realizing that after two decades away he is only now able to return, at peace with the decisions he made as he works to get to know his extended family better and tries to forgive and understand them. Through his sister's life and in her death, Dreher, writing in this tender memoir, learns compassion, gratitude, and to focus on the blessings of the moment. Agent: Gary Morris. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

"Thoughtful and thought-provoking..." --USA Today

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