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Showing 1-10 of 135 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 231 reviews
on May 23, 2016
Full disclosure: I knew David and he was incredibly generous with my undergrads and teacher institute students at Stony Brook University. I wouldn't say we were friends, but he did take my calls and emails, so...I am far from neutral.
I've heard a lot of talkers and he was easily the most gifted extemporaneous crafter of unique sentences. The book mostly upholds that standard, which is remarkable, given the familiarity of the terrain of recovery literature.
Which is why I hate this book. He was one of a few very useful people of his generation and now he is dead and the book reminds me what I loved about David's work.
So, I can't chide him for taking a little too much joy in how cool his life was at various times. I can't conk him for simultaneously hating on junkie memoirs and writing a classic. And I can't tell him I loved the way he stuffed in New York's face the redemptive power of his love for his girls and the comfort he took in religion. So not cool, both of those things. And so Carr to speak plainly of them.
I'd gladly trade the life of several of the leading lights of journalism-about-journalism for another year of Carr making sense of it.
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on February 19, 2015
I liked this book because there were a whole lot of quotable lines that made me think. It’s not exactly a page turner since you know going in how things turned out, but I like tales of people who got to ridiculous lows and then triumphed after a lot of hard work. I think one of the more important parts of his story is how much the state of Minnesota did to help him get him back on his feet, first by paying for him to get six months of treatment (after treatment had not worked for him four times previously—a fairly typical tale), then helping him with welfare and food stamps while he got back into the world of journalism, and then with medical care when he was diagnosed with cancer.

There were a few lines about him being a single dad that were beautiful. I liked how he pointed out that the hero-like qualities attributed to him as a single father were vastly different than if he’d been a single mother.

He writes, “Truly ennobling personal narratives describe a person overcoming the bad hand that fate has dealt them, not someone like me, who takes good cards and sets them on fire.”

He does a compelling job of pointing out how our memories, particularly if our brains have marinated in alcohol and illegal chemicals for years, aren’t reliable. He did some despicable things, but he had a family that was familiar with substance abuse who helped when he was ready for help, and he worked to make amends and get in with the recovery community. His tale of relapse, unfortunately, was also not a new story, but still interesting and painful to read about. Again, he had good work and a caring family to help him back from the brink yet again, which is not a guarantee of success, but it sure doesn’t hurt.
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on April 5, 2015
This book is somewhat entertaining because he knows how to write, but wow does he over do quoting and repeating stats and discussions on the memory issues he may or may not have, and give a bunch of people/examples on who always knew he was talented and good. Overall there isn't much takeaway from it, nothing new or a wow factor. I don't see why people give it such high ratings. In the Greater Scheme of Things, yes some people dig themselves out of serious self-abuse and trials of health issues and become productive citizens, so good job on that. Apart from tons of examples of people who thought he was a-ok, what bothered me is that he appears to have a serious lack of respect for women. "As far as I could tell, taking care of my children did not require ovaries".. because women were "hissing" at him in times of his girls having public behavior issues. He also writes, "Women often marry men in the belief that they will grow into something else". Researched based? For a man that admits that he often used troubled women in place of real relationships, was guilty of domestic violence and was awful at monogamy, I think he could have given more introspection about why he is this way, but that definitely wasn't what he wanted the book to be about. He says it was the drugs and somewhat the troubled women themselves. Agreed, he does say it was bad, but those things do not make a man violent towards a woman, it is a serious lack of respect, and nothing in his book showed me he saw it as a problem in him that it clearly is.
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on July 2, 2017
One of the most interesting aspects of this autobiographical tale of addiction and the havoc it can wreak on the addict and their friends and family is the approach Carr takes to getting to the truth of his story. A successful journalist, Carr employs the same skills he used to write honest and engaging articles for The New York Times and other publications. At the core of this memoir is the issue of memory and how unreliable it is. Only through diligent research that included video recording many of the witnesses to his self-destruction, is Carr able to get at certain truths about himself. Those truths are often harrowing and ugly but through it all, Carr’s heart and writing talent shines through.
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on February 25, 2015
I knew David Carr, having worked with him on many stories when he was covering media for the New York Times. I intentionally didn't want to read his book while I was dealing with him as a reporter covering my company - and I'm glad I waited. But though I learned things I hadn't known about Carr's history while he was still alive, and he did some pretty despicable things, reading this book did not change my opinion of him as a good, straightforward, intelligent person with a gift for writing and an unfortunately addictive personality. I feel heartbroken that he is gone because he added a great deal to this world - and his book is worth reading, whether you knew him or not.
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on October 30, 2016
I suppose I am enough of a voyeur to find the descriptions of the drug culture in Minneapolis in the 70's and 80's, and in particular Carr's descent into hell interesting, but Carr's own description of himself as a raging narcissist rang all too true for me. Too much about him and precious little about how it effected those around him. Although his twin daughter's were the motivation for his recovery, he spends very little time examining the effects of his addicition and subsequent alcoholism on their lives, not to mention his wife Jill.
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on May 18, 2015
The Night of the Gun is an excellent story of addiction and perseverance, brought to you by a superior writer. It is also a harrowing yet gripping foray into the making and unmaking of a dedicated cocaine enthusiast. Carr's journey to fact-check his own memoir is an interesting twist and acts as a much-needed and often-overlooked check on the memoir-writer's tendency to remember their lives in ways that are more flattering than they deserve.
Carr is aware of -- and mocks -- the tropes of the junkie memoir, but he does not transcend them entirely.
At times I felt like jabs at his fellow junkie ex-wife, the mother of his daughters, went from elucidating to score-settling. At some point toward the end of the book you realize this is a memoir of a person who is good at writing and who has had some really cool jobs but who didn't really accomplish anything except kicking dope and raising a family, which is admirable of course but I'm not sure it entitles him to a memoir. And it isn't clear that he thinks it does, either.
Yet it is here nonetheless, and in its honest accounting the reader will likely find themselves moved by this man's story. Triumphant? Not really. A terrible story well told? Absolutely.
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on February 13, 2015
An excellent tale of a truly unique lifelong journey. This man changed the face of new media. Read his book, the end.

We'll miss you, David. This book was excellent from cover to cover, even with your silly ramblings on anecdotal tangents, which always led the way to such quotable bits of wisdom. I think I've Kindle highlighted over 50% of your book. I recommend it strongly to friends and family regularly.

Rest in peace.
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on December 25, 2015
A solid memoir by one of the greatest journalists of our era. In this tale of drug addiction and rising through the ranks from alt weekly news to the New York Times, Carr interviews his own friends and family about his life. He glosses over certain things, most memorably a few pages where he describes the strained relationship between his daughters and wife, but this is easy to forgive — I suspect few of us would be eager to point blame in that situation. Most important is that the one thing he refuses to gloss over is his own dark past. Carr lays his flaws bare and, like any good reporter, lets the facts speak for themselves. I'd also like to note that the world has been robbed by Mr. Carr's death. I saw him speak as an undergrad in college, and he was truly a compassionate, brilliant person.
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on March 17, 2015
I picked up David Carr's memoir when I learned of his passing. I knew of him as a New York Times columnist but he came to the forefront with the Brian Williams scandal. What a pleasure to listen to David Carr on the importance of honesty in the media--so lacking. This memoir is a real and visceral explication of life as a drug and alcohol addict and abuser who conquered it only to fall back repeatedly. Anyone who experienced the 60's will connect to some degree but it's a lesson for us all. There is such emotional honesty in this book. The premise in which he concedes his recollection of his life cannot be trusted is a point that non-addicts will appreciate. Memory is so elusive and unreliable. But David Carr consummate journalist went back to the sources-- those who observed him, his family, friends, drug suppliers and fellow users and abusers. The book he writes is a testament to the power of real journalism and I applaud him and will miss him.
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