Wednesday, August 14, 2013

With or Without You, A Memoir - Ruta

Domenica Ruta grew up in Danvers, Massachusetts, a working-class town north of Boston, in a home hoarded with trash that sat on the side of a polluted river and salt marsh.  Her mother, Kathi, was an unreliable woman who managed to turn a run-down taxi business into a million-dollar company and then lost it all to a drug addiction.  She often shared her drugs with Ruta (Nikki), kept her home from school to watch movies, and even tried to convince Ruta to mother a child as Kathi could no longer have children due to a hysterectomy.

Despite the chaos of her childhood, or perhaps because of it, and the seeming lack of books anywhere in their home, Ruta developed a love stories and escape. In With Or Without You, Ruta tells of her childhood struggle and the chaotic guilt and drug/alcohol-filled years that followed after she accepted that the only way out was to cut her mother out of her life completely. Despite all, her mother was a powerful source of love and inspiration in her life and the act of breaking free was a difficult one.

An unconventional coming-of-age story, Ruta's writing is raw and real. A good read, though not particularly exceptional. Living close to Danvers, I enjoyed the read for its threads to my own life though, and would definitely suggest it to others.

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.