Thursday, July 23, 2015

Review: With or Without You: A Memoir

With or Without You: A Memoir With or Without You: A Memoir by Domenica Ruta
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have a friend named Nikki who, like the Nikki in this story, had what I would consider a pretty horrific childhood. It puzzles me how people manage to raise productive, good kids in such a messed-up environment, but this biography certainly goes a long way toward explaining it. The author's mother was one of those outsized personalities that we all, at age 6, think our parents have. She has a kind heart, and facile tongue, and a way with organization that can overcome the various addictions of her life. Eventually, of course, the addictions become more important than anything else, but Ruta never shies away from portraying her mom as a person first and an addict somewhere down the list. Of course growing up surrounded by powders and pills that her mother has no problem in 'prescribing' for her daughter, Ruta also grows up to become a user. It sounds like a depressing book, and at times it is. However it rarely succumbs to "poor-me syndrome" and you end up rooting for Nikki and Kathi. Her dad only barely makes his presence felt, and just doesn't feel fleshed out in the same way her mom, or even her stepdad, is. Good book. Fun, funny, and never melodramatic.

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