Andy Miller's Reviews > Carry the One

Carry the One by Carol Anshaw
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Apr 29, 12

Read in April, 2012

The novel's first chapter sets the stage. Five young people in various stages of intoxication climb into a car after a wedding and soon strike and kill a young girl crossing the road on her way home. The aftermath of the next 25 years on the five and the married couple is told from the view of the three siblings; Carmen, the bride who waved them good-bye knowing they were drunk, Alice who was nuzzled in the back seat with her new lover when the girl was killed, and Nick, who saw the young girl in the road but did nothing as his drug and alcohol induced stupor had convinced him she was an apparition.

Oliva, the driver and Nick's girlfriend is sent to prison. When she is released she has not forgiven herself but dedicates herself to a sober lifestyle and leaves Nick when she catches him with drugs. Nick is a brilliant physicist whose career is derailed with his up and down battle with addiction. One of the saddest chapters is a party celebrating his receiving a prestigious award during a period of his recovery followed by a glimpse of his life during his next downfall. Alice becomes a famous painter, only her mentor sees her best work, portraits of the young girl in various stages of her life if she had not been killed. Even when her mentor tells her that release of those paintings would revive her career she refuses to share them but is also unable to destroy them. The author offers a contrast with a fifth passenger, a folk singer who tries to leave the scene before police arrive as he doesn't want the crash to affect his career. Later he writes a song about the crash to revive his career.

The novel focuses on those responsible for the crash(Carmen made no attempt to stop them as they drove away)not the victim or her family. Yet we get realistic and sensitive glimpses into their lives and the effects of the tragedy. If I had one complaint about this book is that the girl's father physically assaults Nick twice, one being years after the crash. As a prosecutor I have dealt with far too many families in these tragic circumstances and have see many diverse reactions to such a horrible loss--I have never seen anything close to the physical assaults described in the book and I think it somewhat cheapens and sensationalizes an otherwise compelling and great story

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