Kristin Strong's Reviews > Carry the One

Carry the One by Carol Anshaw
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Jul 05, 2012

it was ok
Read from July 05 to 07, 2012

I'd heard several positive reviews of this book so I really wanted to like it. It was just a'ight (with apologies to Randy Jackson).
No spoiler here -- the premise is that several drunk/high/preoccupied people pile into a car after a wedding and hit and kill a young girl on a dark country road. The rest of the book is supposed to show us the implications and repercussions for their lives after the accident. And I guess it does, to a point. The problem is that only two of the passengers in the car are shown to be frequently or profoundly affected by the tragic event. A painter produces multiple images of the girl at advancing ages, and an astronomer maintains contact with the girl's mother for years.
These people have difficulties in their lives, to be sure, but I felt like they were problems that could result from crappy parenting (which is supposed to be the case for some of them; at least they SAY it is and they recount various incidents from their childhoods) or just flawed personalities. There's addiction (to substances and to romance), there's bitterness, there's rigidity and distance -- again, nothing that couldn't happen to any of us, really. I didn't see what was unique in the experiences of any of them, that HAD to be attributed to spillover from that night.
Also, the author jumps from the accident to 2 years later and continues to leap years in time between chapters. This made it hard for me to see a linear relationship between the tragedy and the characters' circumstances. And I would have liked to see how they lived out the time immediately following the accident.
One reviewer on this site (probably more, but I only saw one) professed to be offended by the author's treatment of the Catholic church and by the "graphic" sex in the book. I found the Church to be tangential to the plot, and the sex is not what I would call graphic at all -- yeah, you know people are "doin' it", but the details are largely left to the imagination. But if you are likely to be upset by liberal politics, you might want to skip this one, as one of the main characters is a serious lefty activist and makes no secret of her views. It takes way more than any of this to inflame me, so I had no problem with it, but just a heads-up for more sensitive readers.
I'm not sorry I spent the time reading this -- it was well enough written -- but it didn't excite me. PLUS, there was some awful grammar: "She SUNK into a chair", "She SPRUNG up", "He SHRUNK back"...those are past participles, not the past tense forms of the verbs needed. Yet again, I am distracted by lousy editing. WHY????
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