With or Without You
by Domenica Ruta

A haunting, unforgettable mother-daughter story for a new generation the debut of a blazing new lyrical voice
"Look for special features inside.

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More About With or Without You by Domenica Ruta
A haunting, unforgettable mother-daughter story for a new generation the debut of a blazing new lyrical voice
"Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader s Circle for author chats and more.
"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""

  • ISBN-13: 9780812983401
  • ISBN-10: 0812983408
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
  • Publish Date: March 2014
  • Page Count: 222

Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Personal Memoirs
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Literary
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Women

BookPage Reviews

New paperback releases for reading groups

In his ingenious third novel, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, Mohsin Hamid spoofs the self-help business guides that are all the rage among Asia’s would-be entrepreneurs. Throughout the narrative, he writes from the second-person point of view, employing “you” to refer to his anonymous protagonist, a poor young man from a provincial part of Asia, who, armed with a little education and a lot of ambition, seeks opportunities in the big city. He tries his hand at various enterprises and eventually becomes rich through a (somewhat sketchy) bottled-water business. His big dream, though, involves a woman whose fortunes have run a similar course. Composed of 12 chapters, each of which bears a scrap of advice as a title—Work for Yourself; Have an Exit Strategy—this masterfully crafted story captures the manners and mores of contemporary Asia, but also serves as a shrewd commentary on the desires that drive us all. This is a remarkably inventive novel from a writer who isn’t afraid to take risks.

In her vividly realized memoir, With or Without You, Domenica Ruta looks back on the turbulent childhood she experienced with her drug-addicted mother, Kathi. Raised in Danvers, Massachusetts, she grows up in a household where poverty and mayhem are the order of the day, overseen by a mom who’s often dysfunctional. Money is always short. The time Ruta spends with her father in his comfortable, suburban neighborhood only heightens the sense of deprivation she feels at home. Kathi, who comes from an Italian-American family, has a feisty spirit and an unpredictable disposition. With her moodiness, her endless need for drugs and her taste for drama, she’s an unforgettable character, and Ruta does a wonderful job of bringing out the paradoxes in her mother’s personality. Ruta’s own struggle with addiction is part of the story, and she writes about it with unflinching honesty. She depicts her unorthodox upbringing with dark humor and lucid prose, making her relationship with Kathi come alive on the page.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s hypnotic third novel, Americanah, tells the story of Ifemelu, a confident, beautiful Nigerian who immigrates to America. In her new home, Ifemelu struggles to adapt and to survive financially. But she makes it through college, starts an acclaimed blog about race, and wins a fellowship to Princeton. All the while she’s haunted by memories of her former boyfriend, Obinze. Soft-spoken and introverted, Obinze immigrates to London where he ekes out an uncertain existence before being deported. Back home, he becomes wealthy as a property developer. When Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, her old feelings for him are revived, and the pair find themselves in the grip of passion. Both are forced to make difficult decisions about the future. Adichie’s dramatic, sweeping narrative functions as an emotionally riveting love story, as a profound meditation on race and as a revealing exploration of the immigrant experience. It succeeds—beautifully—on every level.

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