3.5 stars. We could all tell stories about our childhood and our parents that would send people reeling. Still, there are people who have gone through a hellish upbringing, one most of us couldn't even fathom. Domenica Ruta is one of those people.Kathy Ruta, the author's mother, is a very troubled woman. She's narcissistic, an addict, an alcoholic, and so many other words that don't equal "good mother", or even "good person". A few scenes from the book:- As an adult, the mother and daughter visit Paris and go to the Louvre. (side note: I've been there, and if you get the opportunity to go, take it. It's breathtaking.) Kathy snorts crushed up pills in front of everyone, then wanders through the exhibits in an unimpressed stupor. She sees the Greco-Roman statues and shrugs, "Either there's a head without a body or a body without a head."- She actively tries to convince her daughter to get pregnant while still in high school. When Domenica insists she wants to go to college, Kathy stomps her foot. "Why can't you be just a little less responsible?" she demands.These are actually minor events. Kathy accumulates men, drugs, and money, then loses them, all while taking her daughter along for the ride. Ruta writes beautifully, describing the ache of having to cut a parent loose because they are too damaging, but also writes with a lot of humor, noticing the absurdities in her own life.This is in no way a happy book, yet it's strangely uplifting. The author is sober now, and honest about her past. She's been to hell and back, and lays it all out for public consumption. That in itself is courage most of us will never know.