Domenica Ruta grew up outside Boston as the brainy misfit daughter of a loud, buxom, peroxide-blonde Italian mother. A vain and mercurial ‚Äúnarcotic omnivore,‚ÄĚ her mom loved and hated her only daughter with equal ferocity. Their home was full of contradictions. As a kid, Ruta was given OxyContin for headaches. Her mom worked extra jobs to pay for Ruta‚Äôs dance lessons, but refused to acknowledge that her daughter was being molested. As a teenager, Ruta was pushed toward both higher education and teen pregnancy. Unsurprisingly, she eventually began her own spiral into addiction. ‚ÄúDenial and the desire to self-destruct are elemental cousins,‚ÄĚ she writes; ‚Äúmining one yields the other in equal proportion.‚ÄĚ
With or Without You is valiant and heartbreaking. Though Ruta‚Äôs life has been traumatic, her narrative lacks any over-the-top melodrama, and finds its strength in restraint.
By Kathleen Yale
The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.
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