"I love the paint of words...." So begins a poem by Ruth Bell Graham, best known as the wife of popular evangelist Billy Graham. Although poetry is at the heart of this beautifully laid-out "scrapbook" of her life, there's much more here in the way of Graham memorabilia: antique photos, plaintive journal entries, childhood drawings, love letters, and old college schedules:
I can't remember when I wasn't scribbling something. I jot things down when I can't sleep or I'm too tired or I need to reflect on friends family, frustrations. Funny moments, notebook upon notebook, a storehouse of memories... Like Graham herself, there's plenty of humor here, and just a spark of mischief: whether it's her memories of breaking curfew in college and getting grounded ("I found I had plenty of time to write"), or her thoughts on marriage ("Divorce never... murder maybe").
Peppered throughout are short, boxed vignettes about Ruth written by her children, her husband, one-time neighbor and crime novelist Patricia Cornwell, author Jan Karon, and former First Lady Barbara Bush. By turns poignant, humorous, and wistful, this scrapbook memoir is a fitting salute to an admired personality. --Cindy Crosby