With or Without You (Ruta) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
A fierce, smart account of a devastating childhood, in a memoir drawing comparisons to the The Glass Castle. Not surprisingly, Ruta, whose mother was an addict, struggled with her own demons; her memoir is a testament to her own redemption.
Reader's Digest


Life under an erratic single mom, first on welfare, then a millionaire, in the 1980s proved a wearying contest for survival of the fittest as recounted in this valiant, bittersweet debut by Danvers, Mass., native Ruta. Five feet tall and Italian American, with a loud gutter-mouth, copious breasts, and bleached blond hair, Kathi aka Mum lived from one menial job to the next that kept her comfortably supplied with pain killers she happily shared with her only daughter while concocting conflicting plans for her including school scholarships and early pregnancy.... Ruta's account is a fairly dry, restrained chronicle of a wrenching embrace of health and sobriety.
Publishers Weekly


Billed dramatically as the debut of a prodigy—Ruta was finalist for the Keene Prize of the University of Texas at Austin, where she received her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers—this memoir assays the author's rise from a particularly tough childhood. Her mother was a drug dealer and user, and Ruta had to break from her to survive. An in-house favorite being compared to Mary Karr's The Liar's Club and Jeanette Walls's The Glass Castle.
Library Journal


The memoir of the emancipation of a daughter from her drug-dealer, addict mother. Despite the hardships she endured as a child, Ruta demonstrates a deep and loving bond with her mother. Other family members meander in and out of the narrative, but it is Ruta's mom who features the most prominently in these stories of coming-of-age during the 1980s.... The use of dark humor and explicit language...makes the book so intriguing, and Ruta shows how a strong maternal bond at an early age can lead to forgiveness regardless of the circumstances. A sharp portrayal of recovery from a lifetime of pitfalls and the love that held it all together.
Kirkus Reviews




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