Sharon A. (Tierra Verde, FL)
To Be or Not To Be
Beautifully written, hard to put down, but an extremely tough story to read about. Many may be turned off about the subject matter, but we need to know about the bad things that go on in the world too. It is authors like Ms Ruta that make us aware of family dynamics that might not be a part of our world. This would be a good book for teen groups as well as professionals, as it could draw out discussions of personal experiences.
With or without you
Domenica Ruta's memoir is akin to a scab that you can't resist picking. Excruciatingly painful to read, With or without You insists that the reader continue Domenica's journey, hoping for her redemption. Ruta's description of her surroundings is hauntingly graphic. She is able to capture the people and places in a manner that is all too real. As I was rooting for her survival, I was also grieved by the choices she made that lead to her near destruction. This was an easy read in the sense that the story was compelling. I just kept wishing that it was fiction.
T'Ann D. (Amityville, New York)
A Mature View
The description of With or Without You compared the book to another memoir, Glass Castle. I was hesitant to read Domenica Ruta's memoir because I had found Glass Castle to be very negative and dark. However, Miss Ruta was able to bring humor and compassion to her recollections.
Having grown up in an alcoholic home, I understand how it is easy to be judgmental and bitter about childhood situations. Miss Ruta showed maturity and wisdom when describing her very different mother. It seemed to me that she was able to look back with Pollyana eyes and appreciate her mother for what she was. How often do our expectations cause us to miss the value of the person close to us?
Carolyn (Summerville, SC)
Hard to say how I feel...
I couldn't write this review immediately after reading WITH OR WITHOUT YOU. It is a very readable memoir about growing up as the daughter of an alcoholic drug addict who wants all the same things for her daughter, and is afraid to turn in the pedophile "uncle" because of what he knows about HER. What a terrible life Nikki had, yet she doesn't seem to feel sorry for herself. I do have to wonder how she could recall so much of her earlier life, considering the amount of drugs and booze she consumed. I can't say that I enjoyed the book, but it is quite a powerful, well-written story, and I hope the author's recovery continues.
Rosemary C. (Austin, TX)
With or Without You
Without a doubt, Domenica Ruta can write. She's a wordsmith with a compelling story to tell. In a poignant, horrifying, and sometimes humorous memoir we get a glimpse of her chaotic, confusing and depressing life with a very mentally ill mother. Domenica's obviously strong inner resources prevail as she pulls herself out of that world of drugs and craziness. I found myself cheering her on and thinking that I'll be sure to read the next book she writes. She's that good.
Gail G. (Northbrook, Illinois)
With or Without You by Domenica Ruta
I could not read this book in one sitting. I needed to distance myself from the emotionality and debilitating actions it. The descriptions of her life experiences brought out very emotional responses from me.
The family she grew up in was dysfunctional to to the extreme. Her mother was an abuser of drugs and alcohol and encouraged her to do the same. In addition to the drugs and alcohol abuse, Mother also abused her verbally.
The writing is exceptional and the young girl's experiences are almost unbelievable but you know they are true. She explains them factually and without emotion, and she let us into her life and we can totally live through it with her. How she managed to get through college and grad school is a miracle and in the end she is able to release herself from the bondage she has been in her whole life, another miracle. She knows herself well and projects this to the reader. I can't say I enjoyed the story without reservation because of its darkness but the strength of that girl/woman was amazing.
Barbara O. (Maryland Heights, MO)
A different Mother/Daughter Love
"With or Without You" is a dark memoir of a childhood spent surrounded by drugs and alcohol and a dysfunctional mother and father. Yet despite the darkness there are bright rays of light filled with love and humor. I loved this story and look forward to reading more by this entertaining new author.