With or Without You by Domenica Ruta
A Memoir

86%

7 Critic Reviews

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

Synopsis

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

A haunting, unforgettable mother-daughter story for a new generation—the debut of a blazing new lyrical voice
 
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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
 

About Domenica Ruta

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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.
 
Published February 26, 2013 by Spiegel & Grau. 242 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Parenting & Relationships, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Self Help. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Mar 17 2013
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for With or Without You
All: 7 | Positive: 6 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Excellent
on Dec 01 2012

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

Read Full Review of With or Without You: A Memoir | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Margaux Fragoso on Mar 22 2013

By revealing the comedy in many such scenes, Ruta adamantly rejects the role of passive victim. Her wit and lyricism often go hand in hand with the particular kinds of trauma common to our generation...

Read Full Review of With or Without You: A Memoir | See more reviews from NY Times

Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Nov 26 2012

Ruta's account is a fairly dry, restrained chronicle of a wrenching embrace of health and sobriety.

Read Full Review of With or Without You: A Memoir | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Book Reporter

Good
Reviewed by Alexis Burling on Mar 08 2013

...finding a way to forgive her family and herself --- that make this a memoir worth reading.

Read Full Review of With or Without You: A Memoir

Entertainment Weekly

Excellent
on Feb 15 2013

With or Without You comes across as a bleaker, funnier, R-rated version of The Glass Castle and marks the arrival of a blazing new voice in literature.

Read Full Review of With or Without You: A Memoir

The Boston Globe

Good
Reviewed by Julia Klein on Mar 16 2013

It is a purgation, an accounting, but also a tentative move toward healing and forgiveness.

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Macleans

Excellent
Reviewed by Sarah Weinman on Mar 08 2013

...the brilliance of With Or Without You has less to do with Ruta emerging from the other side of the trauma-recovery cycle a stronger person than with what it is to love, understand and forgive—and even celebrate—someone despite the harm.

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Reader Rating for With or Without You
79%

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