Review by Matthew Hennessey – City Journal:
This is an important book, shot through with Dreher’s penetrating intellect and cultural commentary. Some reviewers have interpreted Dreher’s relocation as an embrace of small-town, conservative values. But The Little Way of Ruthie Leming is also extraordinary because it does something that few books even try to attempt: it offers a plausible way out of the postmodern alienation and ironic posturing that has for too long informed my generation’s warped notions of the good life.Raised on pop culture and relativism, convinced we could create sustainable worlds from scratch, trapped in a permanent adolescence, we find ourselves now at mid-life, with children of our own, with jobs and responsibilities, but with no frame of reference for what’s true or real or good. Who are we, we wonder? How did we end up in an America that seems smaller than the one we grew up in? Why does the culture feel so inauthentic? Where does our bitterness and sarcasm come from? Why are we lonely so much of the time?Dreher’s book offers answers, though not easy or comforting ones. In the first place, there are virtues—now largely ignored—in staying put.