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Customer Review

95 of 105 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars If only..., March 25, 2009
This review is from: The Night of the Gun: A Reporter Investigates the Darkest Story of his Life--His Own (Hardcover)
I really wanted to like this book, and because of that I forced myself to read the final 200 pages, even though every instinct in my body told me to stop halfway through. I should have followed my gut. This book lacks any sort of actual depth. You don't get a good sense of what he went through, and I'll have to take his word that it was awful (it clearly was, but only because I know what his experiences were like, but he doesn't present the emotions in any way that you can connect to). Furthermore, I found the vast majority of it to be self-indulgent, almost as if he wanted to shout "These terrible things happened to me, and I did terrible things to others, but I'm actually a great, smart, funny, good looking guy!! I swear!!" A perfect example of this is as the end of the book he finally gets around to talking about the interviews he did with his daughters. An excellent opportunity to demonstrate how his behavior took him from being a God in their eyes to showing how he low he could fall. Instead what does he do? In a 3 page chapter covering both daughters he has about a paragraph from each of them, and in each paragraph they both say how intelligent he was. He doesn't conduct any interviews with the people who don't think he's great. For example, he talks about meeting his wife and how people told her to stay away from him. Why didn't he talk to any of them about what he did that made them hate him so much? Instead of interviewing some of his former employees who hated his guts he talks to the ones who say he was the best boss they ever had. I'm not saying he's a jerk, but everyone has people that dislike them, and in order to truly understand the awful things he did and how they affected people he should have talked to some of them. Instead, as his daughter says, this book feels like an attempt at catharsis whereby he can say he's looked at the horrors of his past and dealt with them without ever having to really sit down and deal with those issues. Having said that, I don't want this to sound like I'm attacking what he did, because I respect him for doing it, and I truly hope it did him a great deal of good in his personal life. All I'm saying is that reading the book gives these impressions, and leaves one bored, frustrated, and wishing for more.
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 15, 2011 11:41:28 AM PST
Yeah, if you've ever been to an AA meeting, you'll recognize that sort of person in this book, a person who has a need to prove that he (or she) was most loathsome creature ever. The more appalling stories he has to tell, the better. I would imagine that at fundamentalist Christian revival tent-mettings there is likely a similar contest to testify who was the worst of sinners . . . but now is saved.

My attitude toward such operatic confessions is to say, Don't beat your kids, pay your taxes, and shut up. We got our own problems to deal with over here.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 30, 2013 1:54:07 PM PDT
Excellent comment, summarizing exactly why I could not finish the book.

Posted on Feb 13, 2015 3:24:45 PM PST
L. Baker says:
Your review is the one I decided to really listen to. I then decided this was not the book I wanted to spend the next few days reading. I am experiencing some hard issues myself and if this isn't going to help me, then forget it. I will instead spend that time in my Bible.
Thanks for your honest assessment. I always read the 1* first. Saves me a lot of
ps.....Mr. Carr just died. His interviewing/journalism skill will be missed if what they say is true. I think it is.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 13, 2015 3:26:26 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Feb 13, 2015 3:28:12 PM PST]

Posted on May 4, 2015 12:17:35 PM PDT
TA says:
Bravo! This is exactly what I was experiencing after a few chapters. I knew then I should have stopped reading but thought that there must be some redeeming event at the end --- or at least something valuable to take away from the story. There wasn't and there isn't. In addition, given that the author made his living (he is now deceased) as a editor and writer, I found the quality of the writing to be very poor.

Posted on Sep 2, 2015 7:28:24 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 2, 2015 7:30:10 AM PDT
I knew a lot of people like the late author back in the day. Wanted so bad to be bad bad bad. And they were idiots and users of others and screwups, and yes, many despite this, got good things anyway. This quirky universe, huh! I knew a guy who wrote his memoirs and then had to issue a disclaimer--he had never really shot heroin, despite being a professional ex-junkie going into prisons, etc. Imagine--I made up the heroin part. Oh, well, I got through two cuts...and then it was so tedious, I erased it from my MP3 player. And for a guy lauded for being such a smoking writer, this is not terribly well written. Ooops--just noticed the reviewer above also knows good writing when he or she sees it. Sorry to be repetitive.
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