If you have never discovered Shari Low's brilliant books, then what on earth are you waiting for?' Julie Bonello, NetGalley. 'An absorbing, readable book, which. With or Without You by Domenica Ruta. Read an NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY. Throughout this intensely philosophical memoir, which is Ruta's first book, the author continually reminds her readers that the desire to grow is.
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Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. With or Without You by Domenica Ruta. 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 found 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 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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I grew-up in an Italian family as well but boy, nothing like Ruta's. Almost wondered if some of it was written while she was on something. Could swallow most of it but some of the tales just seemed far-fetched : Anyone else feel that way? Kiersten If her stories are hard for you to believe, you should consider yourself lucky. See 2 questions about With or Without You….
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Sort order. Start your review of With or Without You. Feb 24, Jennifer rated it liked it Shelves: memoirarcbooks. With or Without You just didn't pull me in in the same way and while the book ended up being 'fine', it wasn't impactful in any meaningful way. View all 6 comments.
Mar 22, Julie Ehlers rated it liked it Shelves: memoir-and-autobiographygalleysindiespensablenew-englandshelf-awareness. 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.
It must be said, this book is flawed, flawed, flawed. The early parts of the book are somehow a bit dull despite the subject matter.
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Some of the writing is beautiful, but some of it is callow. Ruta tells her story in a nonlinear fashion, which is fine in principle, but in this particular case it makes things muddled. I can understand why, as a writer, Ruta had to tell this story.
My feelings about reading this book are confusing to me. It was uncomfortable. It got into my system, like a virus.
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Reading it was kind of a visceral experience—there is no emotion recalled in tranquility here. I won a galley of With or Without You via Shelf Awareness thank you to the publisherbut then it was also an Indiespensable selection, so I both got this book for free and paid for it. Either way, my thoughts are my own.
View 2 comments. 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 thisthen 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 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. She comes from no place of authority to even be writing a memoir: she's barely over 30, she's not famous, she's not a survivor of anything 3 out of 4 people haven't dealt with, and her "recovery" happened so recently it could have been yesterday.
This can't even qualify as one of those memoirs about surviving childhood adversity or rising above the ashes of despair because, shit, the girl has barely been sober long enough for me to take her seriously.
And having no authority means your readers are left wondering what the hell the point of the story is.
In essence, this is a lot of bitching combined with way-too-many-pages of soul-searching that goes from tedious to agonizing. But that's the thing.
Like me, like my friends, like millions of others, Domenica is just another person who had some sucky things happen to her. I'm shocked by how similar she is to my girlfriends from college: Italian-American girls with thick Bahhhstin accents who came from blue-collar families in Peabody and Danvers, who survived traumatic childhoods and were the first of their lot to attend college. And what would those girls say about Ruta's story?
Something akin to "You gadda bad ma'? You had it haaahhhd?
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Me too. So fackin' whaaaaat? The only difference between Ruta and the rest of us? Domenica Ruta broods. She wallows. And doesn't shut She doesn't seem to get the fact that having bad shit happen to you doesn't make you special, it just makes you normal.
And that's boring. Two stars for the couple of well-written sections, but, overall View all 13 comments. Mar 07, Victoria Weinstein rated it liked it. 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 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.
With or Without You
I don't think Ruta has the necessary distance, time or insight to do anything original in the genre. I was left totally perplexed as to how she earned her scholarships and grants for writer' workshops -- there has to be more there than "I was smart" or "I drank a lot and wrote. WHY did she write? I wanted to hear much more about the inner life of an artist who is in so much pain and so drug addled and still able to function well enough to earn grants and scholarships and invitations to writing workshops.
What was with the long, strange tacked on chapter about her dog?
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There's a lot of craft here but no real insight. A lot of blame and showcasing of mom's craziness, but no writerly voice. I also admit that I think it's a nasty bit of business to author a ripping condemnation of one's mother while she's still alive. It feels like a really tacky bit of exploitation and revenge.
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I live in the Boston area and really appreciated Ruta's ability to capture the area. I loved her description of working in the nursing home -- it was the only truly clear-eyed bit of the book.
The rest of her story needs more time to marinate. I am guessing, for instance, that not "all" of the students at Andover had Laura Ashley bedspreads and that not "all" of the students at Oberlin were stoners. Only time can lend Ruta some perspective. I'd appreciate hearing her revisit this complicated material again in 20 years. Jan 16, Regina rated it it was amazing Shelves: non-fictionmemoirarc-publisher-netgalley-edelweisscrazy-stuff-i-didnt-know-existedgrowing-up80s-nostalgiabeautifulbroke-my-heart.