Caitlin Constantine's Reviews > The Night of the Gun

The Night of the Gun by David Carr
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's review
Feb 17, 2011

liked it

I loved the concept of this book very, very much, particularly as someone who writes memoir and is constantly struggling with notions of truth and reality and memory. Carr has all of these ideas about his life as an addict, but when he goes to fact-check them, like any responsible journalist would, he finds out that his recollection is often not in line with those possessed by others. Shocking, I know, considering that it sounds like Carr did, in the words of Robin Williams in "Good Will Hunting," enough cocaine to kill a horse, but I think this holds true for even those of us who have never even as much as tasted a caffeinated soda in our lives.

The execution, waned after a while. The book is ostensibly about his addiction and his recovery, but it seemed to waver in the last third of the book, with a bout of cancer, a marriage and a relapse-and-recovery episode thrown on really quickly at the end. Basically, it started to read as though Carr got tired of writing, and just wanted to get the whole process of writing a book over with as quickly as possible.

I did appreciate that Carr wrote about his history of abusing his girlfriends, which I can't imagine was easy for him to do, or for his ex-girlfriends to talk to him about. It wasn't easy for me to read, that's for sure. But it's one of those perspectives you almost never hear about in a way, at least not in a way that is all overly concerned with making excuses for themselves. Now that I think about it, I am pretty sure I have never read anything like it in my life.

I'd say this book has more to recommend it than not, but if you aren't really interested in a) addiction or b) the mechanics and philosophy of memoir, then I am not sure you would find much in this for you.
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