Beth T. (Savannah, GA)
Not for Me
I'm always so excited to receive a First Impressions book and try very hard to be a responsible reviewer and read the entire book. I just couldn't do it with WITH OR WITHOUT YOU. Ms. Ruta most definitely has talent, and her way with words kept me going longer than I would have -- but in the end, I just couldn't find myself caring. The story jumped around and was too disjointed to keep me absorbed. I'm happy to see that many people DID like this book, and wish the author well as she continues her writing career.
Penny N. (Saginaw, MI)
Abuse is painful
This memoir burns everything you have, from the body to the soul. The book is well written and perhaps just saves the author's life. Being born puts a small child in the wrong lane of life and a having a dysfunctional family overloads her mind and body. This all stems from family drug use, poverty and mistreatment carried forward from past generations. Nikki as the writer/subject is called, has a survivor mentality but not always. There is humor in the book as well as pain. Some pages you have to force yourself to read.
I put the book down several times and it always drew me back. I hope the world is alright for Nikki...
Kat F. (Palatine, IL)
Like looking at a bad accident
This was not the book to read over the holidays. While the writing was excellent, the story itself was horrific, kind of like driving past a bloody accident scene. You know you should look away and keep going, but something compels you to slow down and gawk.
With all the violence against children that we can't control these days, to read about a mother that deliberately abused her daughter, both mentally and physically was extremely depressing and enraging. To deliberately put your child in harms way, repeatedly, reserves you a special place in hell in my mind.
Though Kathi, the mother, made me sick, I still had hope the daughter could overcome. I couldn't read this book for any length of time; I had to put it down and calm down. In order to objectively review the book, I had to take time to digest it and think about it when I was finished.
I guess that makes it a good book, but not a nice story.
Would I recommend it to anyone? Probably not as it was much too dark and depressing for me.
Janice C. (Hayward, CA)
With Or Without You
This is an excellent memoir. Hard to read knowing how many young women have lived through such an ordeal. Domenica Ruta gives them hope that with a lot of perseverance you can overcome a difficult childhood. I am looking forward to reading my next Domenica Ruta book.
Trezeline B. (Columbia, MD)
A Story of Strength and Courage
This is a memoir. A very interesting story of a young girl who grew up without guidance and protection. In spite of this, the young lady survives and manages to go to college and learn how to live. This was very inspirational.
Kristina K. (Glendale, CA)
With or Without You
The description on the back of the book hales it as "a darkly hilarious chronicle of a misfit '90s childhood." This description doesn't do this memoir justice. In beautifully fluid and poetic prose, Domenica Ruta presents her life's story much like she describes her experience of sobriety, where "memories return slowly and in the wrong order." And it's impossible not to feel the raw pain sandwiched between her wry or lyric observations. Not since Dorothy Allison's autobiographical novel "Bastard Out of Carolina" or Jeannette Wall's "The Glass Castle" have I read a memoir this powerful. Depicting complicated, dysfunctional family relationships plagued with abuse and addiction, Ruta also presents the rare, glimmering moments of kindness that, as those of us who have survived similar families know, keep the darkness from swallowing us whole.
Kimberly G. (Irving, TX)
Another Story of Family HIstory Revisited on the Descendants
It took two full reads of this book for me. I kept thinking I missed something along the way - hence the re-read - only to realize that there was nothing new here. Tale is one we hear so often in writing today... "I am who I am because of the dysfunctional family I was born in to..."
Unfortunately this one left me cold, and NOT wanting more.