The Night of the Gun: A reporter investigates the darkest story of his life. His own.
From David Carr (1956–2015), the “undeniably brilliant and dogged journalist” (Entertainment Weekly) and author of the instant New York Times bestseller that the Chicago Sun-Times called “a compelling tale of drug abuse, despair, and, finally, hope.”
Do we remember only the stories we can live with? The ones that make us look good in the rearview mirror? In The Night of the Gun, David Carr redefines memoir with the revelatory story of his years as an addict and chronicles his journey from crack-house regular to regular columnist for The New York Times. Built on sixty videotaped interviews, legal and medical records, and three years of reporting, The Night of the Gun is a ferocious tale that uses the tools of journalism to fact-check the past. Carr’s investigation of his own history reveals that his odyssey through addiction, recovery, cancer, and life as a single parent was far more harrowing—and, in the end, more miraculous—than he allowed himself to remember.
Fierce, gritty, and remarkable, The Night of the Gun is “an odyssey you’ll find hard to forget” (People).
man. A human C. But despite his circumstance, he was consistently cheerful, not one to go on about his needs or discomforts. One night I was feeding him lime green Jell-O that had been cut up days before and had developed a rubbery exterior. He began choking on one of the cubes, and by his color, it was clear that his windpipe was completely obstructed. I ran to the door of the room, yelled for the duty nurse—it was an understaffed place—and no one responded. I tore back to the bed, came up
come to cherish, changed for me and everyone else. 54 A COMMON STORY Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar. —E. B. WHITE On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was in the wrong state for a newsman. Jillie was in the city and called me at nine o’clock at home in Montclair, New Jersey, and said that a plane had crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center. I turned on the television while we talked and remarked that they were replaying the crash, that
keep moving. 10. Party but don’t use. A drunk alone with himself is in a terrible neighborhood. Resume life in civil society and go out, but always plan your own escape route just in case a glass of whiskey begins whispering your name. 11. The problem with your life is behavior, not disclosure. Secrets are what addiction calls foreplay. If you want to live a life that you can be honest about, live one that is worthy. The answer to life is learning to live. 12. Don’t drink. Go to meetings.
notepad—put me at a safe remove. Part of it was her clinical expertise. She was a licensed social worker, not some multidegreed nutcracker MD, and had ferocious instincts where I was concerned. More to the point, I was twitchy because I was talking with Barb about stuff that happened when I was stone-cold sober, when everyone around me was marveling at the turnaround in my life. The question of whether chemicals induced behavior or revealed character seemed to hang a little too close for comfort
and getting drunk, people who were less talented than you were climbing the ladder above you in your chosen profession. I don’t think that set well with you.” Many good things happened while I was at the Reader. The next publisher, R.T., who would go on to become mayor of Minneapolis, engineered a deal to take us out of the horrid suburban office building we were in and bring us downtown, to the city we were trying to cover. I hired Rose, out of a T-shirt shop, who went on to become a very