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My god. I mean… Wow. This memoir read like the Ya-Yas, but only if the Ya-Yas were on crack. And leaned way more towards the dysfunction end of the Disney-Dysfunction sliding scale. So I just finished reading the book and I’m just…gobsmacked. That Ruta made it through alive for one thing. Functioning and able to create such an intense, emotional narrative is an incredible achievement that makes me feel like I’ve been sitting here wasting my relatively cushy existance. The backdrop of Boston neighborhoods made the story feel even more real for me, connecting in ways other memoirs like Mary Karr’s The Liar’s Club and Lit never could. But I’m torn on how to score With or Without You. I was riveted, still scanning for more words even after the last page of acknowledgements had been turn – so, 4 of 5, right? Except even as I was reading, especially more towards Nik’s later adolescent and early adult years, I was wishing for a little more structure. Stories turned into more stories, but I was wondering, why this story? And why is this memory or story coming next? So 3 of 5? How about we stick with a solid 3 3/4 stars out of 5. Well worth a few days of your reading time.

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