With or Without You

With or Without You Domenica Ruta grew up in Danvers Massachusetts in a ramshackle rundown trash filled house with her mother a drug dealer and user who raised Domenica on a steady diet of Oxycontin Growing up Dome

  • Title: With or Without You
  • Author: Domenica Ruta
  • ISBN: 9780812993240
  • Page: 212
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Domenica Ruta grew up in Danvers, Massachusetts, in a ramshackle, rundown, trash filled house with her mother, a drug dealer and user who raised Domenica on a steady diet of Oxycontin Growing up, Domenica knew she didn t fit in she was far smarter and worse dressed than everyone else she knew, and she clearly had the most flamboyant mother of anyone in town but she foundDomenica Ruta grew up in Danvers, Massachusetts, in a ramshackle, rundown, trash filled house with her mother, a drug dealer and user who raised Domenica on a steady diet of Oxycontin Growing up, Domenica knew she didn t fit in she was far smarter and worse dressed than everyone else she knew, and she clearly had the most flamboyant mother of anyone in town but she found solace in writing and reading As she grew older, though, and as her mother s behavior grew increasingly outrageous and her home life increasingly untenable, Domenica fled Danvers only to become ensnared by the demons of addiction.A thoroughly textured and masterfully written book, layered with wildly colorful characters, a biting sense of humor, and penetrating, deeply sympathetic insights, With or Without You finally ends with Domenica s increasing awareness that she must leave the life she grew up with in order to survive.

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      Published :2019-07-22T20:22:47+00:00

    About "Domenica Ruta"

    1. Domenica Ruta

      Domenica Ruta was born and raised in Danvers, Massachusetts She is a graduate of Oberlin College and holds an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin She was a finalist for the Keene Prize for Literature and has been awarded residencies at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Blue Mountain Center, Jentel, and Hedgebrook.

    174 thoughts on “With or Without You”

    1. so, i think there's a fine line to the art of a good memoir. especially from a writer who is not very well-known. on one side: a writer who has had experiences that suck and emerges triumphant (or some reasonable facsimile thereof). on the other side: a story driven by ego. rather than just having to get a story out of them, an ego-driven memoir is almost glad in it's 'look how awful this was for me'. 'i win at worst life ever.' and that's tough to read. there's actually a moment in the book whe [...]


    2. There's a general rule about memoirs: In order to write a good one, one you have to be famous, have lived in close proximity to someone famous, or have survived something so unbelievable that it's better than fiction (as in, you can't make this shit up). If you're not famous and haven't exactly lived through, say, this or this, then really, you have no authority on anything, and nothing interesting to say.This is precisely the problem with Domenica Ruta's memoir. She comes from no place of autho [...]


    3. I would classify this as a parasitic memoir where the author isn't a very interesting character at all, but serves up a charismatic abuser for public consumption with no sense of respect for that person's privacy or complexity. Domenica Ruta is a good writer but she has nothing to reveal about herself that isn't intimately connected to, and blamed on, her toxic mother Kathi. The chronology of the book is a mess -- either tell a story in order or chuck that structure out the window! I don't think [...]


    4. Check out this review and others like it at BadAssBookReviewsDomenica Ruta’s book is a brutally honest portrait of her childhood, her mother, her family and of herself. Although the subject matter is ugly and disturbing, Ruta writes it in such a beautifully and addictive way. I could not put this book down. My home life was the far opposite of Ruta’s, but on the pages of this book I lived her childhood with her. I felt like crying and I did laugh out loud multiple times. Ruta has a gift for [...]


    5. This book has such great reviews, and I heard the author's interview on NPR, so I was eager to read this book, and now that I have, I can't figure out what all the hoopla is about. The writing is very good, almost lyrical in some places. The story, however, is a very different story. Nikki's mother is an alcoholic and drug addict. They live a totally chaotic, dysfunctional life. The house is a run down shack filled with trash and a steady stream of drug addicts coming and going. Nikki falls into [...]


    6. It only took a few pages of With or Without You: A Memoir, before I needed to flip back to the beginning, and remind myself that this wasn't fiction.First, because it is incredibly well-written; far better than any memoir (and some fiction) I've ever read. Last, because it is incredibly awful; the situation, not the book.One wonders how someone - anyone - could go through what Ruta does and come out sane or sober. Though, for several years, it appears she embraced little of either. Which is not [...]


    7. This memoir came into my hands in advance reader's edition form. It will be released in February, 2013. I devoured it in one gulp. It came with high praise from Amy Bloom and Gary Shteyngart. The marketing person compared it favorably to The Glass Castle. All good.But for at least 50 pages I was underwhelmed. Where was the lyricism of The Glass Castle? Where was the "darkly hilarious" tone? I admit those 50 pages went by in a flash but couldn't say why.So yes, bad mother on drugs, poverty, crazy [...]


    8. Although this memoir manages to keep the reader interested, it lacks conviction and reliability. Perhaps the backlash surrounding James Frey's Million Little Pieces biased me while reading, but Nikki's story just didn't seem to add up. Her excessive drinking and drug use, such that she blacked out and was unaware of her surroundings/action didn't line up with the supposed academic excellence she claimed to achieve. As things such as university enrollment and graduation can be fact-checked but le [...]


    9. Domenica Ruta survived a brutal relationship with her single mother, Kathi. The kind where pot was given as a Christmas present and endless supplies of Oxycontin were shared. The kind where Domenica was encouraged to stay home from school and watch good movies and eat ice cream for breakfast. Kathi was described by her daughter as "a narcotic omnivore" and having a "spiritual autoimmune disease". Pretty accurate descriptions from what she told us. Her mother paid her tuition to parochial school [...]


    10. Domenica Ruta grew up with an unstable single mother named Kathi who, although she was at times a successful local businesswoman and Harvard Extension student, was also a slacker junkie whose house eventually got condemned and who was so thrilled when Domenica “finally” got high for the first time that she gave her a bag of pot (the “good stuff”) for Christmas every year thereafter (although Kathi herself went in for much harder stuff). She was the kind of mother who said “Would it kil [...]


    11. Sadly, there is little reflection in this book, which is a series of anecdotes and tales and little more. Like Vivian Gornick wisely said, you get no credit for the living. You have to make sense of the experience, and there's little of that work done here, so the book feels insular and small. The craft is spotty, with strong passages but other "ugh" moments, especially at the beginning, with direct address to the reader on p. 5 -- "So what else do you need to know about this woman [her mother] [...]


    12. I want to start off by saying I would recommend this book and I read it every opportunity I could. It was well written and definitely held my attention. That being said, there were problems with the book that I couldn't get past. Ruta's story is very disjointed and she jumps all over the place in describing her history. One moment she's a child, then an adolescent, then back to a child without clear transitions.I also found that the characters are not fleshed out enough. Even though we know her [...]


    13. Domenica Ruta tells the story of her life growing up in a completely dysfunctional family and what personal prices were paid. Having a single mother who was more absorbed in her own life and welfare than Domenica's, having no close friends, living with instabilty, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and a total lack of personal worth, her story is gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, blood pressure raising.The author has bared her soul, told of her pain, failure, successes and even found humor in the events sh [...]


    14. My gracious I am upset. I am upset because I just learned via that this is the first and presently the only book out by Domenica Ruta. I always wait to read up on authors and their bibliographies until after I read their first piece. It is kind of a dessert to a delicious read for me. But oh the disappointment in discovering that I have to wait an unknown amount of time to read any new work by this literary master.With or Without You was so well written I don't know if I want to give up writing [...]


    15. With or Without You is a powerful, disturbing, honest memoir by Domenica Ruta. Domenica suffered through a trash-strewn squalid childhood with her single mom, Kathi, in Danvers, Massachusetts. Kathi was a drug addict, dealer, and alcoholic. She was unpredictable and unstable. Even though I had an uncorrected proof, please allow me to share how Domenica describes Kathi: “Mummy wants to show off her boobies right now.” Her hair was almost black, but she insisted on bleaching it Deborah Harry b [...]


    16. I just finished this book and it was one of the most amazing books I've read in a long time. I am a big fan of gripping memoirs like "The Glass Castle" or "A Piece of Cake," but it can be really difficult to find similarly addicting books. "With or Without You" excels because, first of all, the writing is fabulous. I'm a writer myself, and there were some turns of phrase that were so lyrical and evocative that I was jealous that I didn't come up with them myself. The most amazing thing about thi [...]


    17. I really wanted to love this book, and I was convinced to buy it because of the author's list of accomplishments/recognitions and the blurbs from big authors - plus it was on my list from reading a review, perhaps the glowing review in the New York Times by Margaux Fragoso, who herself wrote a very powerful memoir about child sexual abuse. It was a quick read, but throughout the book I just kept wondering who Ruta knows, to get all that accolades and blurbs with a book like this, and feeling as [...]


    18. This memoir is incredibly harsh, cruel and sad. But this disturbing account of Domenica Ruta’s life as she grew from being a youngster with a mother who was a drug addict (and every other addict) to an adult whose mother only got worse instead of better is one of huge struggles, deep depression, hope and grim determination.Kathi, Domenica’s mother, clearly loved her daughter, whom she called Nikki, with a deep devotion. But she had no idea how to be a ‘good’ mother, and her cure for any [...]


    19. As a mother, if I ever feel that I have failed my children in some way, I can always console myself with the fact that I am not Kathi Ruta. Domenica Ruta's memoir about her childhood reads like a primer for child abuse and child neglect. She copes with her mother's mercurial moods, which are often fueled by drugs, and she silently endures the predatory advances of "Uncle Vic", knowing that no one in her family will stop his molestation of her.Despite what is, by all counts, a very unstable upbri [...]


    20. I received an Advance Readers Copy of this book through Librarything in return for writing this review, and while I appreciate the free read I assure you the review is wholly honest.This is a wonderful memoir. I was blown away by the author's grace, honesty, self-awareness, intelligence and skill. The promo materials and cover blurbs compare this to "The Glass Castle", and there are some obvious parallels, but I thought this more closely aligned with books from Mary Karr, Rick Bragg, Heather Kin [...]


    21. Have you ever witnessed a car accident? I mean one that takes place right before your eyes. In your own car you can almost feel the moment of impact. You see the glass falling into your lap. You can taste the adrenaline. Yet, there is nothing you can do to prevent it from happening. Especially when you are just an innocent by stander.Well, that is how I felt from the beginning to the end of this memoir. You know what is going to happen to this mother/daughter duo. Yet there is nothing you can do [...]


    22. We are all shaped by our past, but it doesn't have to define us. Loved, loved, loved this book about hope and perseverance.


    23. Competition for most fucked-up-life is always bittersweet, I suppose. There's one too many memoirs out there that reek of conceited, look-at-me and how fucked up and drug addicted I am, Cat Marnell-style self importance and far too few that don't milk their bad experiences in life for maximum shock value and/or career boosting ability.I think Domenica Ruta kind of falls somewhere in the middle of all this. She definitely had a shitty life—there's no denying or sugarcoating that fact. Things th [...]


    24. The memoir of Domenica Ruta, a writer raised in a severely dysfunctional family by a drug-addicted mother, is powerful. I enjoyed it not merely for the raw subject matter, which in my life and work experience I've learned is not terribly uncommon, but more for Domenica's gifts as a writer. I love so many lines, so many passages but this excerpt on page 181-182 is probably my favorite because I found so much truth in it:"I will not become my mother. I will not get fat like her. I will not starve [...]


    25. I typically love a good memoir. In fact, many of the books that have stuck with me the longest have been memoirs. This, however, will probably not stick with me much past today.In order to write a memoir, you should either a.) be famous for something or b.) have some terribly horrific/inspiring/life-altering/ mind-blowing story to tell. Rutka has neither. I still can't figure out why someone decided her story is any different from the hundreds of kids in my high school, the thousands of people i [...]


    26. Dysfunctional childhoods bloat Memoir bookshelves; but they cannot be counted on to be well written. Everyone seems to have a story or thirteen within them, and many are tragic; it takes scrupulous artistry to provide payoff using what might seem from a distance like expected sadness, the type of sadness that many of us encounter either directly or indirectly through friends. The kind that frames it in a way that transcends the pain. One-ups-manship is a very easy trap to fall into, ie “oh, ye [...]


    27. When people say that reading lets you live a thousand lives, I'm pretty sure they're talking about memoirs as well. After all, Domenica Ruta's life is as unlike mine as could be possible, but after reading her memoir, I feel like I've (in some small way), experienced what she felt.Ms Domenica grew up with Kathi, her insane, drug-addicted mother. Domenica isn't pretty either (so this isn't one of those Cinderella books either), but she does love to read. In her own words, she has a hunger for kno [...]


    28. A memoir by the brilliant Domenica Ruta who at a very young age realized that words could be the medium of an artist and said (I paraphrase) this is what I will do- this is my medium. Writing is her superpower. Another reviewer used the word brutal to describe the narrative- yes, this is a brutal telling of a family of characters larger than life. Domenica's mother Kathi is clearly smaht and tahlented- she is also stoned, ripped, wasted and drunk and therefore generally out of her mind. She clea [...]


    29. Hard to rate. The writing itself was good, flowed well, enjoyable to follow, interesting, and even entertaining for the most part. That said, I didn't like the author. I felt like she was overly dramatic about her mother, like she felt that her life had to be the "worst ever", so either she has no understanding of the hardships inflicted upon humanity or she is an egomaniac. As much as her mother was messed up I felt the the author downplayed some of her mothers finer points and exaggerated the [...]


    30. This is a very well written beautiful book. Most of the memoirs I have read were written a good and safe distance from the period in question. This is the case even more so when the material concerns abuse and/or addiction. “With or Without You » feels raw and alive. The author writes with a minimal amount of distance. It is enough though that I believe she was taking a good sane look at her life. There is no self pity, accusations or (the worst) saintly forgiveness which make these types of [...]


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