Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Carry the One” as Want to Read:
Carry the One
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Carry the One

3.12  ·  Rating details ·  9,930 ratings  ·  1,585 reviews
“When you add us up, you always have to carry the one.”

Following a devastating moment in the hours after Carmen’s wedding, three siblings and their friends move through the next twenty-five years under its long shadow. Through friendships and love affairs; marriage and divorce; parenthood, holidays, and the modest calamities and triumphs of ordinary days, Carry the One sh
Paperback, 255 pages
Published October 23rd 2012 by Simon Schuster (first published January 1st 2012)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Carry the One, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Carry the One

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,930 ratings  ·  1,585 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Carry the One
Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo
1.67 Stars

The premise of Carry the One is simple and so very promising. Carol Anshaw begins her story ” in the hours following Carmen’s wedding reception, when a car filled with stoned, drunk, and sleepy guests accidentally hits and kills a girl on a dark, country road. For the next twenty-five years, those involved, including Carmen and her brother and sister, connect and disconnect and reconnect with each other and their victim. As one character says, ‘“When you add us up, you always have to c
Larry H
Apr 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I loved this book.

Late one night, after Carmen's wedding reception, a car containing several stoned wedding guests, including her siblings, Alice and Nick; her new sister-in-law (and Alice's girlfriend), Maude; Nick's new girlfriend, Olivia; and Tom, an aspiring singer and sometime-boyfriend of one of Carmen's friends, accidentally hits and kills a young girl on a dark country road. The accident affects each of them differently, but sticks with each of them for the rest of their lives. Carr
Colette Guerin
Mar 26, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is the worst book I've read in a long time. Sorry I a paid for it and sorry I had to give it a one star rating but there was no zero.

The premise of the book is what drew me in and effectively had nothing to do with the book. This book was nothing more than multiple adults expressing their inability for any persnal resposibility. They kill a child, she ruins their lives. Bad parenting, ruins their lives. They are free to make poor decisions because the past has somehow bound them to it.

Lisa Beaulieu
Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Either Goodreads is going to have to add more star-giving-capabilities, or I will have to go and undo many 5 star ratings I have given, reconsidered in comparison with this book.

There is a casual conversation in the book describing how before the big bang, the entire universe was the size of a dime. There is another one about whether one could possibly step outside of time. (Don't be put off, I know nothing about physics or astronomy and I followed it easily.) There is an artist who paints a se
Jan 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this novel. The writing is excellent and the story rang true for me. Each of the siblings is flawed, often in very destructive ways but their love for each other was close to unconditional. Unlike many of the reviewers here, I liked Alice, Carmen and Nick. I also liked the way the author started many new chapters in a much later time period. It would take me a paragraph or two to catch the drift but I enjoyed the surprise.
I wasn't convinced that the accident was the primary rea
Elaine Mullane || At Home in Books
I really, really liked this book. In essence, it is about the messiness of family life but its focus on humanness and the ties that bind is particularly precise.

"When you add us up, you always have to carry the one."

This novel is an engrossing tale of a family affected by tragedy. It opens in 1983 with the bohemian wedding of Carmen in rural Wisconsin. After the wedding, Carmen's sister Alice, brother Matt, their subsequent dates and the wedding singer, Tom, share a ride and are all too drunk/s
Nov 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review posted on Alexa Loves Books

Even though I finished this novel last week, I found I needed a little time before I could even attempt to write a coherent review. There were just a lot of words and impressions and feelings swirling about in my head; though they remain untamed, it is my hope that I can organize them in a way that can fully and sufficiently express what I thought of Carry the One.

Carol Anshaw has a masterful way with words. The story is beautifully written, with characters that
Carolyn Amundson
Great premise. Not so great execution. The premise of the book is the after-effects on the five people in the car that hits and kills Casey Redman. However, the book focuses on the three siblings: one who gets married for really stupid reasons and is a do-gooder (Carmen); one who is a lesbian and paints (Alice), and one who does drugs and is an astronomer (Nick). Oh, yeah, Carmen wasn't in the car, although it was her wedding they were leaving. The driver of the car (Olivia), another passenger ( ...more
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has gotten totally mixed reviews on Amazon, mostly, IMO, from readers who were looking for a Jodi Picoult kind of novel. I believe you need to be on the proper wavelength to fully enjoy this elegant writer's gifts. If you've never before read her, you may wish to start with Lucky in the Corner, or Aquamarine.

This is my take on Carry the One: Carol Anshaw is a magician. This beautiful and tenderhearted book (all her books are tenderhearted, even at their most drily ironic) joins elegan
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
The first thing I noticed about this book, Carry the One by Carol Anshaw, was the title. I love the dual meaning .... the reference to mathematics and also how it ultimately relates to the specifics of this story.

This book is filled with complex characters with complicated relationships to each other. Some are bound by blood ties; some by friendships and even romantic entanglements; but most importantly they all end up bound together by the events of one night.. a night that binds them through g
Nov 21, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Carry the One by Carol Anshaw is an unusual Novel. I first read a rave review for this book in a magazine. The review was so riveting that I ordered the book immediately.

The story begins in 1983, with five drunk and drugged-up friends accidentally killing a young girl as they drive home from a wedding in Wisconsin. What follows is 25 years chasing penance, with plenty of disappointments.

I found the characters in the novel quite cold and found it very difficult to get involved with the characte
Sheila DeChantal
It started with a wedding. And then there was a reception. There was a lot of drinking, and a lot of drugs. In hindsight, it probably was not the best idea they had ever had to drive that night in a drunken drug induced haze but they did.

And that is when they hit the girl.

For Carmen, Alice, and Nick, the accident is carried with them wherever they go, far into the future. The girl shows up in Alice's paintings in the gallery.... a girl, wearing the same clothes she wore that fateful night.... a
Nov 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky to win a copy of this book on Goodreads.

The first thing that stood out to me about this book was the absolute skill of the writer - the subject matter is a hard one, and she manages to narrate the story is a detached manner, but the prose is just gorgeous! Massive talent here!

The main event that this book revolves around (chapter one - I'm not spoiling the book, promise!) is a tragic accident. A group of young people, drunk and/or high (depending on the character) drive down a countr
Donna McCaul Thibodeau
This book was very highly reviewed but I found it to be average, not something that will stay with me.
Mar 28, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Review first published on my blog:

Carry The One follows a set of siblings and friends over a course of twenty five years. The book begins with a wedding, and in the aftermath of the wedding, friends traveling together hit and accidentally kill a young girl. The book is meant to look at how one tragic moment impacts these individuals throughout their lives.

Unfortunately I did not enjoy the book at all. The book starts off with a wedding. The characters int
Jessica Abell
Oct 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
CARRY THE ONE is a stunning breakout novel. Love, loss, addiction, guilt, passion - Anshaw covers it all, and her writing is nothing short of brilliant. Her characters and their stories are bursting with a raw honesty that is so often lacking in contemporary literature. This is a novel you will want to talk about the minute you turn the final page; a novel you will want to share with all of your friends. Compulsively readable, enthrallingly witty... Anshaw is here to stay.
Robert Warren
May 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Accidents happen. Twists of Fate, bad judgment, lousy luck. Regardless of whether or not one believes in a higher power or karma or The Law Of Attraction, all can agree we are shaped by events, as individuals and as groups. The notion can be both terrifying and exhilarating. In the hands of Carol Anshaw, it is both, and it makes for a spellbinding read.

In brisk, economical prose, Anshaw drops us in among a group of urbane early 20-somethings, moments after a wedding in a Wisconsin farmhouse in 1
C.E. G
Apr 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer-fiction
I want to respond to the negative reviews of the book more than the book itself (which I enjoyed to an extent). Of course if you didn't enjoy the book, you didn't enjoy it, but here's me defending it against accusations of poor storytelling.

First, there's the critique that this book did not deliver the story/theme it promised; that there was too little focus on the little girl that was killed. I admit that the advertising may have been misleading, but I believe that the writer did stay true to t
Okay, I just don't understand how so many people love this book. I struggled with the timeline of the book and the jumping back and forth between characters and events. Also, this book was SUPER depressing. The characters lives were so boring and bad and filled with guilt and torment that you were almost wishing they would die off just so you wouldn't have to read about them. I realize not every book you read will be uplifting, but my goodness, this one was so depressing that it put me in a bad ...more
Natalie Richards
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
I thought I would really like this book, it sounded so three siblings and their friends lives are forever changed after a devastating accident...but it was not good at all. I could not connect with any of the characters and it seemed to take me forever to just get through it.
Julie Franki
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is that book that I sort of liked just enough to keep reading, and then, as more pages stacked up on the left, found myself more and more engrossed in. Carry The One is what I will henceforth call Sneaker Fiction. That is, maybe you thought you were reading People magazine, but turns out it was Harper’s, how ’bout that?! Or, you started reading Goodnight Moon but it turned into Go The Fuck To Sleep. This is a novel with an interesting enough plot about a group of young adults together at an ...more
Michael Croy
Mar 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

It has been years since I've so taken with a book. Carry The One is one of those rare well crafted books on several levels. High quality of writing, excellent story, pacing, drama, humor and poignancy. It is one of only a handful of books in the past 5 years I've read twice just to experience the writing and nauances a second time.

This is a story about Carmen, Nick and Alice a group of siblings bound together by a horrible accident that takes the life of a young girl, and continues to distract
Feb 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
I love the idea behind this book. A group of "friends" are involved in a tragic incident. We follow them through several decades and many other life changing events.

The reasons I dislike this book:

1- Lesbian sex- There wasn't anything too graphic, but lots of implications. I kept hoping that Alice would turn straight just so I wouldn't have to read these interactions anymore.

2- Politics- I'm a staunch Republican. The view of some of the political matter rubs me the wrong way. That's all I will
Rebecca Davis
Jan 04, 2013 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this rather despite myself, but I was never really able to forget I was reading something that someone had written as fiction.

On some level Carol Anshaw has a knack for making the conflicts between her characters poignant and compelling; I found myself caring about this rather oddball family as their lives unfolded. To a certain extent this had to do with the desire to see "where they wound up," which the book did in fact pay off.

On another level, the effect on the family of the "tragi
Nov 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
The author makes token efforts to show that the girl's death at the beginning of the novel had far reaching impact, but never proves her case. I failed to see how their lives would have been much different if it hadn't been for the "fateful night". I found this to be a fragmented story about shallow, self-centered people who were not significantly different when the book ended than when it began. Anshaw tries too hard to be edgy with both the dialog and interactions creating a tedious picture th ...more
Diane S ☔
3.5 if I could. Almost feels like the reader is a voyeur peering on these characters lives. The writing is so smooth and the characters are two sister and a brother who are involved in a fatal accident which effects them in different way throughout their lives. We peer in on them in increments of several years, finding out where they are at, how they are facing their challenges. Actually quite structurally perfect and apparent simpleness of the novel is deceptive.
May 13, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
“So Carmen was married, just,” is how this story begins. The wedding takes place on a farm, the ceremony in a barn. It’s a somewhat joyous occasion, and several young folks get carried away and overdo it with drugs and alcohol, but hey, it’s a celebration. Late into the night, the last guests to leave are Carmen’s siblings, Nick and Alice, who climb into a car with four others and head back to the city. But then a misfortune strikes—a tragedy so profound that it will deeply touch all these chara ...more
Oct 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Carry the One has a dramatic beginning: it’s the evening of Carmen and Matt’s wedding and they are surrounded by their family and friends. It’s a non-traditional, very Bohemian wedding at a farmhouse owned by Alice, Carmen’s sister, and Jean, both artists. In the wee hours of the morning, several party guests — drunk, stoned and sleepy — are making their way home when there is a tragic accident. A young girl is killed on a dark country road. One guest will take the blame, but they will all carry ...more
Paul Pessolano
“Carry the One” by Carol Anshaw, published by Simon and Schuster.

Category – Fiction/Literature

Carmen and Matt get married and their friends are having a great time at the wedding ceremony. When the party breaks up several of those who have definitely partied hardy climb in an automobile and head for home.

Olivia is driving spaced out on alcohol and drugs and next to her is Matt who in no better off. Slightly better off are those jammed into the back seat.

It is only after they have left that Olivi
I won this book through Goodreads, and was excited to receive it. I began reading the book and it showed some promise, however; the book became quickly bogged down for me. The main characters at the beginning of the book are high and drunk after leaving a wedding reception. Unfortunately, they hit a young girl walking home and she is killed. The book continues with the main characters over a 25 year period and what happens in their lives through the shadow of their one night of "fun". This book ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Pink and green plaid shirt 1 12 Apr 29, 2014 03:37PM Bo...: Carry the One. 3 45 Apr 13, 2013 04:30PM  
Oprah's Book Club...: Carry the One 1 42 Apr 02, 2012 06:47AM  
Exceptional Books: Win an ARC of Carry the One by Award-Winning Author Carol Amshaw 1 12 Mar 02, 2012 10:04AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Lifeboat
  • The Red Umbrella
  • The Reluctant Carer: Dispatches from the Edge of Life
  • Summer People
  • One More Lie
  • Playing with Myself
  • Voyagers of the Titanic: Passengers, Sailors, Shipbuilders, Aristocrats, and the Worlds They Came From
  • Before Women Had Wings
  • The Trees
  • Did I Say You Could Go
  • The Boy No One Loved
  • The Last Good Man (Niels Bentzon, #1)
  • The Best Is Yet To Come (Summer Lake, #1)
  • Overboard (V.I. Warshawski, #21)
  • Everything That Follows
  • The Boy in the Field
  • Forgotten Country
  • We Do What We Do in the Dark
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Carol Anshaw is an American novelist and short story writer. Her books include Carry the One, Lucky in the Corner, Seven Moves and Aquamarine. Her stories have been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories in 1994, 1998, and 2012. She has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts (1992). She has won a National Book Critics Circle Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, an NEA Grant, an Illinoi ...more

News & Interviews

  The glint of fangs in the dark, the sound of tap-tap-tapping at your window, the howling of wind (or is it just wind?) in the trees...that's...
354 likes · 61 comments
“Romance no longer looked like so much fun, more like a repetitive stress injury…” 12 likes
“...religions all have the same timeline...First the people feel the need to worship something. The sun or the giant corn of ear. That's the first thing. Then the guys say okay, now that we've got the giant corn thing going, how can we use it to oppress women?” 6 likes
More quotes…