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With or Without You

A Memoir

by Domenica Ruta

With or Without You by Domenica Ruta X
With or Without You by Domenica Ruta
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  • Published Feb 2013
    224 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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There are currently 37 member reviews
for With or Without You
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  • Claire M. (Sarasota, FL)
    With or Without You
    Domenica Ruta begins her memoir in quite a humorous way - how she and her mother go to smash the windshield of a car and how they want to hear the sound of breaking glass. Nikki is the glass that never quite breaks no matter how abused or self abused she is. Nikki is a writer of talent emerging from the dregs of blue collar abuse in all of its manifestations. It is often said that giving voice to the voiceless is cathartic and while Nikki has written a splendid account of her moving from an object of others abuse, I don't believe she will be free until she faces and writes the story of Uncle Vic, the pedophile. This most heinous of crimes has been lost among the tales of drug and alcohol abuse at the hands of herself and her mother, the way she allows herself to be sexually used and abused. She is phoenix-like, Nikki is, but until the cries become screams over the pedophilia that was condoned by Kathi and other family for debt's sake and low class family cohesion, I don't believe she will be liberated enough to let her talent really soar.
  • Ann W. (new york, NY)
    With or Without You
    "I see the awakening of consciousness as a series of spaced flashes, with the intervals between them gradually diminishing until bright blocks of perception are formed, affording memory and a slippery hold." Vladimir Nabokov, 'Speak, Memory'. I had been reading this in memory of a dear friend who died in her sleep in late September. His language is sensual, lush and inviting. I want to look at butterflies and let me senses evoke memories.

    After finishing rereading 'Speak, Memory' and listening to it as well, I picked up Ruta's lyrical memoir. I wanted my friend. I wanted to read her passages and share my wonder. "We're lonesome. That's all. There isn't a word in the English language more beautiful than lonesome…the whole world could be contained in that single word."

    Her book is an elegant and rich evocation of a life lived in all its grandeur; her love, her hate, her anger and what might be termed the full catastrophe. I was delighted to read of her adventure at Nablov's birthplace in St. Petersburg; to be reminded of his dogs. In her memoir, there is compassion, humor, sadness sorrow and self-inflected pain. Ultimately, she creates herself, one step at a time.

    As I have been reading it, I have told all my dog waiting friends to read it. I have quoted passages. We need books and stories that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply as the death of a close friend. With or without you does that. After finishing the last pages, I started rereading it.
  • Sylvia G. (Scottsdale, AZ)
    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.
  • 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.

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