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Review of With or Without You by Domenica Ruta

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With or Without You by Domenica Ruta


Domenica Ruta was raised by an unpredictable, incredibly wild, drug abusing single mother. Kathi is constantly bouncing from job to job and frequently relies on selling drugs as a way to support them. Kathi knows she screwed up and is always trying (to the best of her ability) to provide better opportunites for her daughter.

Domenica's honest writing style describes what it is like to grow up in an environment where you are both terrified of your mother and relishing for her attention. As a young girl, Domenica was well grounded even though her home life lacked basic structure.

Eventually, in high school and college, she fell into a casual relationship with drugs and alcohol. Kathi welcomed Domenica into the drug lifestyle as a nontraditional form of mother-daughter bonding. Domenica told herself she would never get as bad as her mother, she would never lose control and let the substances dominate her life.

Domenica describes as her life begins slipping away from her. She bares all her struggles. Domenica is able to capture Kathi's giant personality and most memories she shares from her childhoood seem shocking yet it all fits right in with Kathi's behavior. Domenica is now able to look back and reflect on her life in true memoir style. It can range from funny, to shocking, to depressing, to exciting, but above all, it remains heartwarming and full of hope. By sharing her story, Domenica reminds us all that everybody has obstacles to overcome in life but it is possible to come out on the other side as a better, stronger person.