But after he died -- in journalistic harness, collapsing at his desk -- I decided to give the book a chance. It is titled The Night of the Gun: A reporter investigates the darkest story of his life. His own. As far as Carr's life story goes, I was right to avoid it; descent to the bottom is not interesting except to the participants.
But there's more going on here. Carr really did give his memories of multiple foggy episodes the full fact-checking treatment. The title derives from his discovery that his memory of his best friend pulling a gun on him during a particularly extreme binge was completely false. He was the one who had brought the gun into their quarrel. There's chapter on chapter of that sort of thing, including some woman beating and a lot of crack cocaine.
Still, why might anyone want to read this painful book? Perhaps because it is both wise and possibly truthful, or at least it expands a reader's apprehension of the categories of human truth.
Somehow, twin daughters who needed him and a stalwart (second) wife helped Carr pull out of the pit he dug himself. Journalistic talent clearly helped too. Woes await the recovering drunk who isn't employable ...
And even Carr's description of his bottoms has its endearing moments. During one crazed moment, he describes himself alone, talking to his dog, Barley, a Corgi mix.
Sobriety didn't come for a long, long time, but when it came, Carr relished being "normal." He concluded: