- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Ballantine Books (April 9, 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0399179712
- ISBN-13: 978-0399179716
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 48 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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All That You Leave Behind: A Memoir Hardcover – April 9, 2019
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“A documentary filmmaker and daughter of the late, great New York Times columnist David Carr celebrates and wrestles with her father’s legacy in a raw, redemptive memoir.”—O: The Oprah Magazine (The Best Nonfiction Books Coming Out in 2019)
“David Carr was the rarest of friends—the kind who completely altered the trajectory of my life. I’ve known his daughter Erin for over twenty years, and cannot think of a more apt narrator to explain to the world what David meant to all of us, but, more importantly, to the children he so dearly loved. All That You Leave Behind is a breathtaking read for a breathtaking man. It is neither a tribute nor a monument to David’s life, but a testimony equal parts love and candor. David would have had it no other way.”—Ta-Nehisi Coates, bestselling author of Between the World and Me
“[This] memoir is magnificent.”—Brian Stelter, CNN
“There’s inspiration in the reminiscence, in the form of encouraging emails and pep talks from father to daughter, and even a list of lessons learned at the end of the book, starting with “Listen when you enter a room” and “Don’t buy into your myth.” But as her father did in his own memoir, The Night of the Gun, Carr doesn’t shy away from darker truths.”—The New York Times
“By page one, we were drawn in. By page three, we were weeping. Erin Lee Carr is a documentarian by trade, but this memoir proves she’s also an incredible writer. Clearly, she takes after her father, legendary journalist David Carr, whose sudden death in 2015 is the basis for this memoir. Carr combs through her 1,936 emails with her father to create a story of their relationship.”—Refinery29
“David Carr was a celebrated New York Times journalist and author who suddenly passed away in 2015. And in this gorgeous memoir, his daughter Erin Lee Carr beautifully chronicles their close bond and shared battle with alcoholism. It’s rare for a memoir about grief to be a page-turner, but Erin’s writing is so compelling and her relationship with David so moving that I couldn’t put it down.”—Cosmopolitan
“All That You Leave Behind, an unsparingly honest portrait of [Erin and David Carr’s] intensely close father-daughter relationship . . . also stands entirely on its own, on Erin’s merits as a frank, intimate storyteller; it is proof that, in the wake of her father’s death, she has continued to find her voice.”—Vogue
“In her raw and earnest memoir, All That You Leave Behind, Erin brings us into her struggle to come to grips with who her father was and how to harness the weight and promise of his enduring legacy to shape who she’s becoming. . . . It’s filled with love, hope and ambition—just as David was, just as his daughter is.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“This tough and touching book would surely make its author’s father beam with pride.”—The Columbus Dispatch
“Erin Lee Carr’s father, David, was an inimitable force in American journalism and a complex, boundlessly fascinating figure in her life. But what we learn in All That You Leave Behind is that Erin is just as much of an original as the man who raised her, and her sharp but tender-hearted debut memoir is perfect evidence of that. This book is wonderful.”—Lena Dunham
About the Author
Erin Lee Carr is a director, producer, and writer based in New York City. Named one of the “30 Under 30” most influential people in media by Forbes, Carr most recently directed At the Heart of Gold, about the USA Gymnastics scandal, and I Love You: Now Die, about the Michelle Carter murder-by-texting trial, both for HBO. She also directed “Drug Short,” an episode of Netflix’s critically acclaimed series Dirty Money. She lives in New York City, where she enjoys petting dogs on the street.
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This book - and basically Erin Lee Carr's career - is 100 percent nepotism-driven. This book's blurbs from her father's professional acquaintances are more evidence that if you're born into connection, you're going to get a break that 99.9 percent of the world will never see. It's not that she didn't succeed on her own merits *after* she gets that break, but the vast majority of people never get that opportunity. But - that's not her fault, and she is self-aware enough to know that it's a lucky path she was able to put herself on. In its own way, the book is a window into a life of *expected success."
She's a drunk and a cokehead, and any sympathy I might feel for her is often overwhelmed by how unable she is to break away from an obvious cycle of addiction. But that's the problem and the point - she's got all these great chances, and she *can't* break out - because that's what addiction does. You can be the King of England, but if you're a coke fiend, that's still going to be what you are. It's to her credit that despite all that, she keeps plugging away, when most people would just take the easy path - she's lucky to have both the positive and negative sides of an addictive personality (by accounts, she is currently sober).
Her father was 100 percent supportive in a way that I don't think most parents actually are. I think a lot of readers might be jealous of that - the emails from her father struck me as mawkish and overwrought, but maybe because I've never gotten those types of emails?
(a comment somebody posted down below made me rethink this a little bit - yes, David was supportive, but when he wasn't, boy she would have known it. So there's two sides to a father like David Carr)
What am I reading this for, though? Why would you read it? What's the goal? Most of the "action" is before David Carr's death, so it's not a book about dealing with grief - that's only the last couple chapters (obviously the whole book is informed by the experience, but it's not confronted until the end). She recovers from her addictions enough to professionally move forward after a variety of disasters - but she's young and there was always time to recover, so it's hard to feel like that much was at stake. She's handed opportunities that she squanders and bounces back from - that's certainly a story most of us hope we can live through if it happens to us, but was the world crying out for another spoiled hipster brat's tale of drunken woe?
I don't have an easy answer, frankly. Her story is still captivating, and if you're a fan of David Carr, and appreciate what he brought to journalism, this family picture will let you know that he was a good person who had integrity behind the byline, and did the right thing for his family. But it's Erin Lee Carr's very personal story and maybe I'm not sure what the takeaway is to a larger audience.
I powered through it - hatereading at many points, and feeling empathetic with her reflection of her failures at others. If I were ever at a party and introduced myself to Erin Carr, I know that she would be totally friendly while looking over my shoulder to see who else to talk too - but at least she'd be friendly. She'll 100 percent win a Best Documentary Academy Award at some point, and thank her father on the stage.
I guess this is the origin story for when that happens - this is the thought process, and life experiences that a top-flight creator has to go through to reach that pinnacle. Just like David Carr had to be a junkie who left his daughters in his car so he could score a fix - that informed everything he did that followed, just as these experiences will inform Erin Lee Carr's.
So if you read it that way, I think it works and maybe that's my answer for "why." If you want to tell somebody's story, like a documentary filmmaker wants to do, maybe you need to have a story of your own, and lay it out so you're not a hypocrite when you expect your subjects to reveal themselves and all their broken parts. So this is her story, and now we'll see what she can do beyond her father being able to personally email Judd Apatow to get her an internship.
Normally, this would be preposterous -- who cares what a 30-year-old has to say?
What sets this book apart is that 1) her father was an accomplished journalist, and 2) she's popular with certain celebrities (which is partly related to point 1, supra).
Contrast this with other legitimate memoirs, such as that of A.A. Gill, who wrote his memoir shortly before his death at an advanced age. He had things to tell us, to teach us; he lived an amazing life, and really suffered with alcoholism over a non-trivial span of time. Erin Lee Carr's dad did in fact write his own memoir, so she cannot purport to act as his proxy. She claims to have experience with alcoholism, but parsing the exaggeration, it seems like a few weekends.
Basically, Erin Lee Carr is a nepotist and a fraud -- who happens to have cool friends (comedians, affirmative action "scholars," etc.).
This book is short because the author has not lived. She can make all of the celebrity pals she wants; their specious adulation is not really living. Why is she writing about herself this early? Is she planning sequels every decade?
Come on. No thanks.