With or Without You - Domenica Ruta

With or Without You

With or Without You By Domenica Ruta

  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Our rating: 5/5 stars

4 Score: 4 (From 215 Ratings)

With or Without You read description and reviews

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A haunting, unforgettable mother-daughter story for a new generation—the debut of a blazing new lyrical voice


Domenica Ruta grew up in a working-class, unforgiving town north of Boston, in a trash-filled house on a dead-end road surrounded by a river and a salt marsh. Her mother, Kathi, a notorious local figure, was a drug addict and sometimes dealer whose life swung between welfare and riches, and whose highbrow taste was at odds with her hardscrabble life. And yet she managed, despite the chaos she created, to instill in her daughter a love of stories. Kathi frequently kept Domenica home from school to watch such classics as the Godfather movies and everything by Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen, telling her, “This is more important. I promise. You’ll thank me later.” And despite the fact that there was not a book to be found in her household, Domenica developed a love of reading, which helped her believe that she could transcend this life of undying grudges, self-inflicted misfortune, and the crooked moral code that Kathi and her cohorts lived by.

With or Without You is the story of Domenica Ruta’s unconventional coming of age—a darkly hilarious chronicle of a misfit ’90s youth and the necessary and painful act of breaking away, and of overcoming her own addictions and demons in the process. In a brilliant stylistic feat, Ruta has written a powerful, inspiring, compulsively readable, and finally redemptive story about loving and leaving.

Praise for With or Without You

“A luminous, layered accomplishment.”The New York Times Book Review

“A singular new coming-of-age memoir traces one girl’s twisting path up from mean streets (and parents) to the reflective life of a writer. . . . The burgeoning canon of literary memoir . . . begets another winner in Domenica Ruta’s searing With or Without You. . . . [A] gloriously gutsy memory-work.”Elle

“Stunning . . . comes across as a bleaker, funnier, R-rated version of The Glass Castle and marks the arrival of a blazing new voice in literature.”—Entertainment Weekly

“Valiant and heartbreaking.”Bust

“Powerful . . . Ruta found an unconventional voice, a scary good mixture of erudition and hardened street smarts. Her writing is also, as they say in Danvers, wicked funny—though in her case wicked is more an adjective than an intensifier. . . . [With or Without You] hums with jangled energy and bristles with sharp edges. . . . Ruta writes with unflinching honesty.”Slate

“Bracingly funny and poignant.”—The Boston Globe

“Exceedingly powerful.”—Booklist

With or Without You book review; With or Without You book description; Domenica Ruta; Biographies & Memoirs books

Posted Reviews

  • Opinion of a fool

    By Addi12345678910
    I am a complete sucker for a Regan era 80's drug fueled coming of age story. Was looking forward to what i expected to be a Sid and Nancy meets suburbia type prequel. While Dominique is a no doubt a talented and clever writer, my expectations where not meet. In order for me to connect and become enveloped in "Nikki's" story, the novel should have been written in chronological order. In 1993 all of us fell for Quentin Terentino and his cult hit "Pulp Fiction" with his out of sequence story telling. As a visual film this was easy to follow. Nikki's take on a story told out of sequence in a constant state of flashback took away and desensitized this readers love of for this nostalgic time of a struggling single Mother, drugs, teen angst and rock and roll. Constantly reminding us to "Check out the big brain on Brad"-Nikki reminded us continually of her extensive education and superior intellect. No doubt her struggles as molested youth, drug addiction and alcohol are real. I do need to mention and admit the story did keep me entertained and I finished the book in one day. I guess when my autobiographical story is finally told as a comedy of a 15 yr. Old child bride from a small Seaside Northern California organic and unique Surf Community, married to a local athletic hero-drug attic, abused, and single surviving and struggling in the 80's. I too will receive my share of criticism.
  • I want my money back

    By takeit4whatitis
    There were so many duplicate pages. Chapters ending with pages missing. For example there were mixed pages like page 798 and 1090. It was an alright book until all the problems with all the issues of bad editing. These problems were consistent all over the book. If I were the writer I would be highly upset. But, I do want my money back.
  • Excellent!

    By Green tips
    I recommend this to everyone!
  • A great book

    By Seasquash
    Really excellent memoir. A fast and interesting read with parts that are incredibly sad yet also laugh out loud funny. Hope she writes another book soon.
  • With or Without You

    By Betacy
    Could not put this amazing, real and heart grabbing life story down! Accolades to you dear Author!!
  • With Or Without You

    By yusufislam1
    Domenica Rutas ability to perfectly bring to life in the mind of her reader the stark and desperate reality of her homelife is fresh and unique. Its a memoir so honest, with its warts and emotional brutality written so poetic and raw. Full of REAL people, with flaws, not contrived charactures. I truly hope Ms. Ruta is well on the way on her next project. She has a voice and presence in her writing that will win over any reader lucky enough to pick this book up.
  • Wow.

    By OG Snowflake
    I feel like I know this woman. Or she knows me. An exceptional and unique memoir.
  • Loved it!

    By Mama Lama 123
    I love, love, love this book! Sure, this electronic version has some wonky copied pages but who cares! The story will absorb you.
  • Excellent read

    By Dei glori
    Very well written. The imagery superb. I feel like I lived this horror with her. The author must fix her one mistake. In the epilogue she refers to a depressed economy during the Reagan years. It was the Carter years, but the author is too young to remember it was Reagan who turned that bad economy around. Please fix.

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