A Southern Girl, a Small Town, and the Secret of a Good Life
Author: Rod Dreher
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (April 9, 2013)
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."
THE LITTLE WAY OF RUTHIE LEMING is not just a story of illness, but also how a tiny town with a big heart brought about the powerful and difficult decision for one man to return home with his wife and children after two decades of living in cities far away.
THE LITTLE WAY OF RUTHIE LEMING: A Southern Girl, a Small Town, and the Secret of a Good Life reminds us that, in a world dominated by career and personal development, something is getting lost. The strength of community in our modern and transient world can still change lives and sustain us during hard times.
This is a true life memoir about Rod, who liked to travel the world and move frequently with his family - until his sister, who had never left her neck of the woods, got very ill and died.
Rod had an epiphany of sorts when he saw the caring and kindness and strength of relationships his sister had from being a strong part of a small town community. It was a village caring for a terminally ill member. When she passed away, Rod decided that perhaps his lifestyle wasn't necessarily better.
This book holds two stories: The first is Ruthie's life and death, and the second is Rod's "rebirth" back into the small town environment he ran away from.
It's a thinking story. A sad one, but one that might have you re-evaluating your own life's way before you finish it.
April 9 – New York – Socrates in the City at The Union League Club – 6:45pm*
April 10 – Philadelphia –Barnes & Noble –7pm
April 11 – Washington, DC – Barnes & Noble Tyson’s Corner – 7pm
April 12 – Asheville, NC – Malaprop’s – 7pm
April 13 – Decatur, GA – Eagle Eye Bookshop – 2pm
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April 19 – New Orleans, LA – Garden District Book Shop – 5:30pm
April 20 – Baton Rouge, LA – Barnes & Noble –2pm*Ticketed Event