WITH OR WITHOUT YOU by Domenica Ruta

WITH OR WITHOUT YOU

A Memoir

KIRKUS REVIEW

The memoir of the emancipation of a daughter from her drug-dealer, addict mother.

Despite the hardships she endured as a child, Ruta demonstrates a deep and loving bond with her mother. Other family members meander in and out of the narrative, but it is Ruta's mom who features the most prominently in these stories of coming-of-age during the 1980s. Marathon movie nights spent tucked in bed counterpoint days of poverty, trash-strewn rooms, drug dealing and her mother high on cocaine, OxyContin or other drugs. “Mum never distinguished between physical and emotional pain,” writes the author, “especially when she had a pill that could cure both.” Ruta holds nothing back as she realistically and tenderly portrays her childhood in Massachusetts, whether she’s writing about school events at her Catholic school, her mother's ascent as a millionaire and subsequent loss of money due to drug use, or the sexual abuse at the hands of a pedophile, one of her mother's friends. Ruta also delves into her own drug and alcohol abuse, her desire to make something of herself and how she crawled back into society: "I used to be a miserable, spiritless, insecure egomaniac who smelled like whiskey. Now I am a well-intentioned, sometimes volatile, even more insecure egomaniac who smells like coffee.” It is this kind of exposure, and the use of dark humor and explicit language, that makes the book so intriguing, and Ruta shows how a strong maternal bond at an early age can lead to forgiveness regardless of the circumstances.

A sharp portrayal of recovery from a lifetime of pitfalls and the love that held it all together.

Pub Date: Feb. 26th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-8129-9324-0
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2012




OUTRAGEOUS NONFICTION STORIES YOU WOULDN’T BELIEVE IF THEY WERE NOVELS:

Nonfiction SAVAGE HARVEST by Carl Hoffman
by Carl Hoffman
Nonfiction THE LOST CITY OF Z by David Grann
by David Grann
Nonfiction MOTHER OF GOD by Paul Rosolie
by Paul Rosolie
Nonfiction SHE LEFT ME THE GUN by Emma Brockes
by Emma Brockes

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenSING A SONG OF TUNA FISH by Esmé Codell Codell
by Esmé Codell Codell
NonfictionMOTHER DAUGHTER ME by Katie Hafner
by Katie Hafner
NonfictionTHE THREE OF US by Julia Blackburn
by Julia Blackburn