Kathleen Hagen's Reviews > The Night of the Gun

The Night of the Gun by David Carr
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's review
Jan 06, 2009

bookshelves: 2008-audio-books, 2008-nonfiction
Read in December, 2008

The Night of the Gun, by David Carr, narrated by charles Leggett, produced by Simon and Schuster Audio, downloaded from audible.com.

This is an amazing book written by a journalist I remember well from the ‘80’s when he lived and worked in Minneapolis. His story, mostly unfolding in Minneapolis, names places and people I know and remember from living here then and now. He took the unheard-of task of reporting on his own life seriously. He checked his own memories against those of his doctors, lawyers, co-workers, relatives, and friends. The publisher’s note says it as well as I could.
Publisher’s note:
Do we remember only the stories we can live with? The ones that make us look good in the rearview mirror? In The Night of the Gun, David Carr redefines
memoir with the revelatory story of his years as an addict and chronicles his journey from crack-house regular to regular columnist for The New York Times.Built
on 60 videotaped interviews, legal and medical records, and three years of reporting, The Night of the Gun is a ferocious tale that uses the tools of journalism
to fact-check the past. Carr's investigation of his own history reveals that his odyssey through addiction, recovery, cancer, and life as a single parent
was far more harrowing - and, in the end, more miraculous - than he allowed himself to remember. Over the course of the book, he digs his way through a
past that continues to evolve as he reports it.That long-ago night when he was so out of his mind that his best friend had to pull a gun on him to make
him go away? A visit to the friend 20 years later reveals that Carr was pointing the gun.His lucrative side business as a cocaine dealer? Not all that
lucrative, as it turned out, and filled with peril.His belief that after his twins were born, he quickly sobered up to become a parent? Nice story, if
he could prove it.The notion that he was an easy choice as a custodial parent once he finally was sober? His lawyer pulls out the old file and gently explains
it was a little more complicated than that.In one sense, the story of The Night of the Gun is a common one: a white-boy misdemeanant lands in a ditch and
is restored to sanity through the love of his family, a God of his understanding, and a support group that will go unnamed. But when the whole truth is
told, it does not end there.Ferocious and eloquent, courageous and bitingly funny, The Night of the Gun unravels the ways memory helps us not only create
our lives, but survive them.


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