Friday, December 18, 2015

Review: The Night of the Gun

The Night of the Gun The Night of the Gun by David Carr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

David Carr gives new meaning to the words “brutally honest” in this memoir tracing his years of addiction to alcohol and drugs, his path to sobriety, and his relapse after fourteen years. Carr makes no excuses for his behaviors or decisions, both personal and professional.

Recognizing the unreliability of memory, Carr wanted to assure the accuracy of the events in his life, so he returned to Minnesota where he set up a camera and recorder and interviewed a cast of characters in his life: family, co-workers, friends, addicts, counselors, therapists, lawyers, editors, writers, and more.

He says, “Memories may be based on what happened to begin with, but they are reconstituted each time they are recalled-with the most-remembered events frequently the least accurate. And memory uses the building blocks of fiction-physical detail, arc, character, and consequence-to help us explain ourselves to ourselves and to others. As such, remembering is an act if assertion as much as recollection.”

This addiction memoir is an accurate picture of Carr’s dependency and recovery. It covers his years as an active alcoholic and drug addict, his experience smoking crack cocaine, his time in flop houses, going to meetings to maintain his recovery, meanwhile maintaining a life as a reporter in several Minnesota newspapers. A major heartbreak in Carr’s life was the realization that his twin daughters were conceived while both he and his wife were using.

Ultimately, Carr left Minnesota for a job in Washington, D.C. and then the New York Times summoned. His skill as an excellent writer and journalist is evident on every page of this memoir.

For readers who have not experienced addiction themselves or known the powers of addiction through family members or friends, Carr explains all too well the harm and devastation of the slippery slope caused by just one drink.

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