With or Without You

A Memoir

    • 4.2 • 215 Ratings
    • $4.99
    • $4.99

Publisher Description

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

Biographies & Memoirs
February 26
Random House Publishing Group
Penguin Random House LLC

Customer Reviews

Chicette ,

Good, but Erratic

Perhaps it's a ringing endorsement for a book about addicts to say that it is erratic. That's how I felt reading the book: that it is probably a lot like trying to follow an addict's reasoning to justify their addiction. At times, the prose is brilliant and I actually highlighted passages that rang very true to me. I've never had a destructive addiction like drugs or alcohol, but at times I think everyone behaves in a self destructive manner. Ms. Ruta is such a person. But I'd like to have a clearer picture of how things ended with her mother. The flaw of the book is that the reader is forced to draw their own conclusion about this. Ultimately, though, it's a brilliant memoir of love, loss, and the horrible strength of addiction and it's devastating effect on people's lives.

Betacy ,

With or Without You

Could not put this amazing, real and heart grabbing life story down! Accolades to you dear Author!!

Addi12345678910 ,

Opinion of a fool

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.

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