Reading the West 9-27-10 | TheFencePost.com

Reading the West 9-27-10

Candy Moulton
Encampment, Wyo.

Ruth McLaughlin lays bare the difficult life she led as a child of Eastern Montana farmers in her memoir, “Bound like Grass.” From the beginning of the book, where the author finds herself picking through the charred remains of her childhood home, through the final narrative chronicling her brother’s discontent with the life he led on the Montana Plains, this is a rather dark story.

McLaughlin writes of her handicapped sister, Rosemary, a girl with a near-brilliant grasp of language, but severe learning disabilities that were the result of a brain injury at birth (although this was something the family did not know until Rosemary was through high school!)

She writes of her father’s abandonment by his mother, who could not handle the isolation, the harsh reality of life on a homestead. She writes of the frugality of both her mother and father, and how she and her brother used innovation to find their own way. When other girls in high school had fashionable haircuts, young Ruth took a razor blade from her father’s razor and gave her own locks a trim; her brother became a self-taught mechanic, eventually driving away from Montana in one of the cars he fixed.

This is a story of a family’s struggle for survival that is not often uplifting; but that is instead a painful dose of Ruth’s reality. The writing is eloquent and sharply drawn, woven together like the roots of the tough grass that covered the Montana high plains before homesteaders attempted to till the soil and make their living by raising wheat.

In promotional materials provided with my copy of the book, McLaughlin answered some questions about the book:

Ruth McLaughlin lays bare the difficult life she led as a child of Eastern Montana farmers in her memoir, “Bound like Grass.” From the beginning of the book, where the author finds herself picking through the charred remains of her childhood home, through the final narrative chronicling her brother’s discontent with the life he led on the Montana Plains, this is a rather dark story.

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McLaughlin writes of her handicapped sister, Rosemary, a girl with a near-brilliant grasp of language, but severe learning disabilities that were the result of a brain injury at birth (although this was something the family did not know until Rosemary was through high school!)

She writes of her father’s abandonment by his mother, who could not handle the isolation, the harsh reality of life on a homestead. She writes of the frugality of both her mother and father, and how she and her brother used innovation to find their own way. When other girls in high school had fashionable haircuts, young Ruth took a razor blade from her father’s razor and gave her own locks a trim; her brother became a self-taught mechanic, eventually driving away from Montana in one of the cars he fixed.

This is a story of a family’s struggle for survival that is not often uplifting; but that is instead a painful dose of Ruth’s reality. The writing is eloquent and sharply drawn, woven together like the roots of the tough grass that covered the Montana high plains before homesteaders attempted to till the soil and make their living by raising wheat.

In promotional materials provided with my copy of the book, McLaughlin answered some questions about the book:

Ruth McLaughlin lays bare the difficult life she led as a child of Eastern Montana farmers in her memoir, “Bound like Grass.” From the beginning of the book, where the author finds herself picking through the charred remains of her childhood home, through the final narrative chronicling her brother’s discontent with the life he led on the Montana Plains, this is a rather dark story.

McLaughlin writes of her handicapped sister, Rosemary, a girl with a near-brilliant grasp of language, but severe learning disabilities that were the result of a brain injury at birth (although this was something the family did not know until Rosemary was through high school!)

She writes of her father’s abandonment by his mother, who could not handle the isolation, the harsh reality of life on a homestead. She writes of the frugality of both her mother and father, and how she and her brother used innovation to find their own way. When other girls in high school had fashionable haircuts, young Ruth took a razor blade from her father’s razor and gave her own locks a trim; her brother became a self-taught mechanic, eventually driving away from Montana in one of the cars he fixed.

This is a story of a family’s struggle for survival that is not often uplifting; but that is instead a painful dose of Ruth’s reality. The writing is eloquent and sharply drawn, woven together like the roots of the tough grass that covered the Montana high plains before homesteaders attempted to till the soil and make their living by raising wheat.

In promotional materials provided with my copy of the book, McLaughlin answered some questions about the book:

Ruth McLaughlin lays bare the difficult life she led as a child of Eastern Montana farmers in her memoir, “Bound like Grass.” From the beginning of the book, where the author finds herself picking through the charred remains of her childhood home, through the final narrative chronicling her brother’s discontent with the life he led on the Montana Plains, this is a rather dark story.

McLaughlin writes of her handicapped sister, Rosemary, a girl with a near-brilliant grasp of language, but severe learning disabilities that were the result of a brain injury at birth (although this was something the family did not know until Rosemary was through high school!)

She writes of her father’s abandonment by his mother, who could not handle the isolation, the harsh reality of life on a homestead. She writes of the frugality of both her mother and father, and how she and her brother used innovation to find their own way. When other girls in high school had fashionable haircuts, young Ruth took a razor blade from her father’s razor and gave her own locks a trim; her brother became a self-taught mechanic, eventually driving away from Montana in one of the cars he fixed.

This is a story of a family’s struggle for survival that is not often uplifting; but that is instead a painful dose of Ruth’s reality. The writing is eloquent and sharply drawn, woven together like the roots of the tough grass that covered the Montana high plains before homesteaders attempted to till the soil and make their living by raising wheat.

In promotional materials provided with my copy of the book, McLaughlin answered some questions about the book: