of J.B. TOLS.
I am an interior designer, photographer, blogger, advocate, adventurer, and mom to five boys. I love advocating for others and exploring new places--both near and far.

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February 8, 2022

Home » Blog » Book review of DIRT by author Mary Marantz

I know The Marantz’s as fellow photographers. So, I came across Mary’s memoir DIRT when I was on their website to buy Photoshop actions. I found a great deal and got the actions and the digital copy of her book. I am ashamed to say, I owned that digital copy of DIRT for probably close to a year before actually sitting down and reading it. And, I am so regretful that I waited so long. But, I finally read this delight of a book and this is my review of DIRT by author Mary Marantz.

This was a non-fictional book on the life of Mary Marantz growing up dirt poor in rural West Virginia; but, this book read like a most intriguing novel. The way that Mary used words to lead you along her growing up years were so skillfully strung together that I spent a lot of my time very envious of her wordsmithing. And, her character development was nothing short of masterful.

It will make you cry.

I cried no less than three time, if that tells you anything.

Oftentimes I knew what was coming and would still cry! I had grown to intimately know and love the people in her life and in her book.

Faith does not take center stage of this book, but it is definitely the foundation of the story of this book. There are so many lessons, tales and experiences that Mary Marantz relates to in her book; and, then she often ends with how each impacted or influenced her faith walk.

Although this book has a major faith based foundation, it is a book for all walks of life to read and enjoy. Mary’s messages throughout the book are universal and what I like to call “meats and potatoes”.

I, especially, loved how she lyrically illustrates how views of God can be–and often are–tied to how we are literally and physically raised (versus trained); and, if we have lived a life of struggle we tend to see God as a taker more so than a God of Love.

Being born from generations of Kentucky coal miners and by a father who lived on his own and supported himself by the age of sixteen, I could fully understand her analogies and her rebellion against the various ideas of God that leave us empty and striving.

For me, her true theme was that character trumps pedigree, period. And, how–when we truly look with eyes of gratitude–we can see God woven into the story of our life, no matter our social standing; And, for Mary, that was her Dad.

My only negative critique:

My only negative critique (which isn’t really a negative critique) of the book would be that twice (and no more than twice) I felt a sharp jolt zapping me back to reality. Twice, I was whisked from walking side by side with Mary through the story of her life to talk about religion and faith in the book; All other times, it was seamlessly and naturally woven into the story that was told.

In conclusion

I highlighted so many quotes in her book, but I will leave you with this:

I think a lot of times we have these moments we remember in our own minds of what it looked like growing up. But if we’ll look just a little closer, there’s a picture within the picture. A story behind the story. There’s always something more.

Mary Marantz from DIRT

DIRT is a beautiful story told through a tender and graceful voice. You will be invested for the duration of the book, your heart will be softened and you will be a better person when you turn that last page.

Meet The Author:

If you would like to know more about the author, you can visit her website at MaryMarantz.com

Buy The Book:

If you would like to purchase this book, you can buy it here:

To go back to my list of books, you can go to BOOK REVIEWS.

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Book review of DIRT by author Mary Marantz

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