The Book

“Too often the memoir category sacrifices good writing to the quick pulse of the storyline, but Domenica Ruta is a real and excellent writer who has language by the throat. She writes with big beauty, deep  respect for language, and drives her story with huge humanism, empathy, and humor.”
—Gabrielle Hamilton, New York Times bestselling author of BLOOD, BONES & BUTTER



Domenica Ruta grew up in a working-class, unforgiving Italian town north of Boston where in the seventeenth century women were hanged as witches. Her mother, Kathi, a notorious figure in this hardscrabble place, was a drug addict and sometime dealer whose life swung between welfare and riches, whose highbrow taste was at odds with her base appetites. And yet she managed, despite the chaos she created, to instill in her daughter the idea that art—via a classic film or a classical education—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’s unconventional coming of age—a darkly hilarious chronicle of a misfit ’90s childhood 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, Domenica Ruta has written a powerful, inspiring, compulsively readable, and finally redemptive story about loving and leaving.

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With or Without You by Domenica Ruta (an excerpt) by Random House Publishing Group