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With or Without You

A Memoir

By Domenica Ruta

With or Without You
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2013,
    224 pages.

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There are currently 37 reader reviews for With or Without You
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Sylvia G. (Scottsdale, AZ) (11/19/12)

Excellent, wish there were 6 stars!
Loved this book! I'm fascinated with books about dysfunctional families when there is survival and redemption and Ruta's story is one of the best. The writing is wonderful and the story is harrowing, funny, and inspirational. I've reviewed quite a few books for First Impressions, and I've never given 5 stars. Don't miss this book.
Cam G. (Murrells Inlet, SC) (11/18/12)

WITH OR WITHOUT YOU
You will love it, you will hate it, you will even despair, but no matter how you feel, you will be in thrall of this young woman's life and how she turns it around. She was born to a drug-addicted mother who, incredibly, turned her daughter into one as well when she was a teen. Ruta is well into her 20's when she comes to realize that she needs to change her life into one without addiction and without her mother.

This is quite a read!
Bea C. (Liberty Lake, WA) (11/18/12)

White Trash Opera
Sometimes it's hard to read about the life of a woman who was raised by an unfit mother. This book has chapter after chapter of the author relating repulsive things her mother said and did, like leaving her 10 year old daughter with a known pedophile, wanting her teenaged daughter to get pregnant and starting her daughter out on alcohol and snorting Oxycontin. Her mother is the kind of person I don't want to be around, and spending a whole book reading about her was almost more than I could take. Maybe the author wanted us to understand why she is "through" with her mother. Don't worry. I forgive the author. Even with a lot of rambling, aimless jumping about throughout her past and present life, the last few chapters of the book about her recovery make the book worth reading. The book can best be summed up with a quote from the author,"It starts out as a girlish whisper, grows louder with each passing year, until that faint promise we traced in the sand becomes a declarative, then an imperative: I WILL NOT BECOME BY MOTHER."
Lisa G. (Riverwoods, IL) (11/15/12)

With or Without You
Anyone who thinks her life is bad should read this book. I have no doubt the incidents described are true but I found myself getting angry as the author followed more and more in her mother's footsteps. Although I knew that the author's life would ultimately improve enough to write this book she spent very little time on her transformation. At some point I switched from thinking "poor Nikki" when she was young to being flat out disgusted with her as she reached high school and college. By the time she cleaned up her act I really didn't care. If you are a fan of The Glass Castle and similar dysfunction parent books you will like this memoir.
Beth C. (Sioux Falls, SD) (11/14/12)

With or Without You: Memoir by Dominica Ruta
Dominica (Nikki) Ruta was a child in the 1980s. Her parents didn't marry, but she knew them both well since they lived in the relatively small community of Danvers, MA. The title of the book, "With or Without You" comes from the song by the group U2 which was popular at the time and a favorite of Nikki and her mother, Kathi. Kathi was a drug addict who managed to live on the fringe - at one time amassing $1million and just as quickly losing it. Nikki's childhood was anything but normal. Nonetheless, she got into a prep school on scholarships and then into Oberlin College. Nikki also had a severe drug and alcohol problem.

This is an interesting memoir, but memoirs written by ex-addicts are somewhat suspect in that one cannot be sure that there is a reliable narrator. When Nikki describes various incidences in her childhood and during her school years, it's hard to know how much she really was able to remember since she was frequently high on one form of drug or another as well as drinking excessively.

That being said, the book is does give a fascinating glimpse into the lives of Nikki and her mother.

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