David Carr - The Night of the Gun

Review :

Early on in this book, Carr asks whether the world needs another 'drug memoir'. I can't speak for the world, but this is probably only the third such book I've read so I, for one, aren't burnt out on them yet.

I found this book quite engaging. I've had my own problems with what we euphemistically call 'substances' so I can empathise with a lot of it and sympathise with the rest. Yes, Carr did some absolutely horrifying stuff under the influence of drugs. While I've never been in his league, I've done enough things that I regret to not want to throw stones in my glass house.

I found this book horrifying, sad, repellent and often funny. Carr has a great way of letting his sense of humour rise to the surface without ever trivialising what he's talking about. As those of us who have had the misfortune to be plagued by a serious illness or disability already know, life is not solely what you make of it but this book shows how, at some point, we still have to own it and make the best of the hand we've been dealt.

This book really does present the man's life 'warts and all'. I never got the sense that he was trying to cover anything up. In fact, he goes into detail about the nature of memory, even when not addled by drugs, and I found what he had to say very interesting. It has probably changed the way in which I think about memory formation and recall and my own memories. I'm not the same person I was before I read this book and if that's not worth five stars I don't know what is.

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