A few years ago now I had an idea that I should read only memoirs for the month of March, playing off the whole March Madness idea. My posts would all be Memoirs, for March's Memoir Madness. Well, nice idea, but I have never been able to organize myself into having enough memoirs read or posts ready to carry this off.
However, I have noticed lately that there are several memoirs I have read recently and not posted on even though I have enjoyed them all.
Domenica Ruta's memoir has gotten a lot of press and when I realized I had been sent an ARC of it, I was more than a little excited.
Ruta's life is worth documenting. Things were not easy for her as she grew up with a drug addicted mother, Kathi. In ways her story reminded me a bit of Jeannette Walls' Glass Castle, yet Kathi is much rougher than Walls' parents, as Kathi veered between simply using drugs and dealing them.
Miraculously, Ruta survived her tumultuous childhood, and fell in love with reading despite her mother's inability to foster this love - not a single book in her home. Kathi did foster a love of drugs in Nicki, helping her become an addict herself to drugs and alcohol. Despite all of Kathi's downfalls, she did believe in education, sending Nicki to a boarding school, which helped her get admitted to Oberlin College.
Although the memoir is sad, as Ruta must somehow overcome the many obstacles in her path, it is also hopeful as we know from the outset that Ruta has escaped her upbringing and flourished despite everything she endured. The writing in With or Without You is beautiful as well. This is easily a memoir that book clubs will choose to discuss and one I could re-read simply to be able to enjoy the writing.