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With or Without You by Domenica Ruta

With or Without You

A Memoir

by Domenica Ruta

  • Critics' Opinion:
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  •  Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
  • Feb 2013
    224 pages
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Page 4 of 6
There are currently 37 member reviews
for With or Without You
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  • Michele W. (Kiawah Island, SC)
    Too high up
    Domenica Ruta is a courageous woman, and an admirable fighter for her own life. With or Without You is the story of her first 30 years and her struggle to recover from an abusive childhood. Nikki uses humor and her great intelligence to protect herself when her family, especially her mother, exposes her to harm. Even while she understands her mother's flaws, she is strongly connected to her. She frees herself by stages, and as Nikki's alcoholism grows worse and worse, she inches towards a decision in favor of survival. Nikki's story is sadly familiar. She is an insightful writer who has learned to hide her feelings so thoroughly that she tells her own story from 30,000 feet, as it were. I don't know if Nikki will ever come to terms with her feelings, and if she does, she might just choose to keep it to herself. I would love to hear from her again in this or any other format, but on the basis of her first book, I would especially like to see her try fiction.
  • Amy (MA)
    With or Without You
    This is a tough book because it is a very tough true story. I had to pace myself as I read this or the story got to be too much for me. This author wrote about her life which was extremely difficult and with her own struggle with alcohol and self worth. I thought that her writing had the edge of a survivor and clearly despite many set backs, it seems like she is on the right track. I do recommend the book, but it is not for those who like their reality sugar coated.
  • Cam G. (Murrells Inlet, SC)
    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!
  • Lisa G. (Riverwoods, IL)
    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)
    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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