Monica Casper's Reviews > Carry the One

Carry the One by Carol Anshaw
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May 30, 12


I've been a fan of Carol Anshaw since Aquamarine. When I saw that she had a new book coming out, I was thrilled. I read it largely in one sitting and thoroughly enjoyed it throughout. As a native Chicagoan, one of my favorite things about an Anshaw book is the Chicago setting, and here we get Wisconsin, too.

I teach trauma studies, and so a book premised on a devastating accident and its aftermath is immensely appealing to me. Anshaw does a nice job with this one, too, showing each character's growth (or lack of growth) across the decades after the fatal event. The book's action centers on sisters Alice and Carmen and their brother Nick, but with attention to the other characters, too. I love how the sisters' relationship is depicted, and how they relate to addict Nick across his tragic life-course.

A few quibbles: I wanted more about Carmen's connection to her son, Gabe, and more details about his life in adulthood. I found Nick's professional success, however disordered, somewhat implausible given his profound addiction. I also occasionally found Carme too cold, too rigid, too annoying, although I also identified with her perhaps more than any other character.

There were brilliant little verbal nuggets throughout the book. And when I finished, I felt a bit sad to be leaving these people I came to know, however briefly.
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