Carry the One



Carry the One When You Add Us Up, You Always Have To Carry The OneFollowing A Devastating Moment In The Hours After Carmen S Wedding, Three Siblings And Their Friends Move Through The Next Twenty Five Years Under Its Long Shadow Through Friendships And Love Affairs Marriage And Divorce Parenthood, Holidays, And The Modest Calamities And Triumphs Of Ordinary Days, Carry The One Shows How One Life Affects Another, And How Those Who Thrive And Those Who Self Destruct Are Closer To Each Other Than We D Expect Whether They Take Refuge In Art, Drugs, Social Justice, Or Love, Carol Anshaw S Characters Are Sympathetic, Funny, And Uncannily Familiar As They Reflect Back To Us Our Deepest Pain And Longings, Our Joys, And Our Transcendent Moments Of Understanding.

10 thoughts on “Carry the One

  1. says:

    1.67 StarsThe premise of Carry the One is simple and so very promising Carol Anshaw begins her storyin the hours following Carmen s wedding reception, when a car filled with stoned, drunk, and sleepy guests accidentally hits and kills a girl on a dark, country road For the next twenty five years, those involved, including Carmen and her brother and sister, connect and disconnect and reconnect with each other and their victim As one character says, When you add us up, you always have to c 1.67 StarsThe premise of Carry the One is simple and so very promising Carol Anshaw begins her storyin the hours following Carmen s wedding reception, when a car filled with stoned, drunk, and sleepy guests accidentally hits and kills a girl on a dark, country road For the next twenty five years, those involved, including Carmen and her brother and sister, connect and disconnect and reconnect with each other and their victim As one character says, When you add us up, you always have to carry the oneHowever, my hopes for the novel were quickly dashed I expected a good character driven story along the lines of those told by Joyce Carol Oates and Jodi Picoult because tragedies affect individuals so very differently Some people may be so guilt ridden that they may carry their guilt to the extreme and self destruct, while others are driven to lead lives devoted to helping others while losing their own identity in their efforts But Anshaw focuses primarily on Carmen, Nick, and Alice Through each sibling s point of view the reader sees each going through varying stages of their lives without much thought to ten year old Casey Redman Though Alice paints the little girl each year in the same clothes she wore the night she was killed as Alice thought she would be, Anshaw failed to explore the artist s need to paint the child Alice s visit to the home where Anne Frank hid for 2 years was a missed opportunity given Alice s reaction to both dead girls Anshaw wasinterested in Alice s relationship with Maude Matt s sister The sex scenes between the two women were very uncomfortable to read Carmen did not seem affected by the accident throughout her life She never mentioned the accident and rarely commented when one of the nine so called friends commented upon it Yet, Matt used the accident as a reason for the dissolution of their marriage the other was he wantedsomeoneCatholicthe attitudes of both Carmen and Matt I dare say reflected those of the author and as a Catholic myself was very offensive Annulment is a long process that begins at the pastoral parish level and ends at the Papal level The reasons given by the author for their Annulment is not among the 5 conditions that the Church considers declaring a marriage null Also, Carmen s journey toward radial activism is really not Catholic either The scene at the Women s Center, while dramatic, did not ring true to me, since I ve never seen any violence during annual prayer vigilances I attend protesting the Roe v Wade decision my only activist action Anshaw depicts her as strong woman, but she gets so very overwhelmed as a single mother, she has Carmen dressing Gabe in his school clothes at bed time so he would be ready when he awoke What right minded woman, liberal or not, would do such a thing Nick s story rings true to the novel s premise He is the most affected by the tragic accident, other than the actual driver, Olivia Nick is brilliant, but hopelessly addicted to drugs His struggle with his addiction and his secret guilt is the most interesting of all of the characters He marries Olivia, visits Casey s parents, and fights his brilliance out of that guilt through drugs and alcohol We know the end of his struggles as they are beginning Yet, Olivia is completely enigamic She spends time in federal prison not for her role in Redman s death, but for the undelivered mail the Police found in the trunk of her car She comes out of prison hard and isolated, accepting punishment for the child s death She further atones for sin by deciding not to have children Why the author chose to place Olivia at the beginning and end of the novel is baffling, since she was integral to the story s premise Also, Olivia was one of theinteresting charactersCarry the One was really the three siblings story A coming of age story about the effects of an abusive father and a not so present mother that really formed their choices in life, rather than how a tragic event changed their lives Their characters were caricatures rather than three dimensional Anshaw s writing was superb most of time with a few misses here and there Her strong attitudes were present throughout the story, and I found them to be heavy handed, not entertaining at all Good writing alone does not make a good book, but perhaps as aconservative Catholic plebeian I am not her target audience

  2. says:

    Wow I loved this book.Late one night, after Carmen s wedding reception, a car containing several stoned wedding guests, including her siblings, Alice and Nick her new sister in law and Alice s girlfriend , Maude Nick s new girlfriend, Olivia and Tom, an aspiring singer and sometime boyfriend of one of Carmen s friends, accidentally hits and kills a young girl on a dark country road The accident affects each of them differently, but sticks with each of them for the rest of their lives Carr Wow I loved this book.Late one night, after Carmen s wedding reception, a car containing several stoned wedding guests, including her siblings, Alice and Nick her new sister in law and Alice s girlfriend , Maude Nick s new girlfriend, Olivia and Tom, an aspiring singer and sometime boyfriend of one of Carmen s friends, accidentally hits and kills a young girl on a dark country road The accident affects each of them differently, but sticks with each of them for the rest of their lives Carry the One follows Nick, Alice, and Carmen over a period of 25 years, as they struggle with love, relationships, marriage, raising children, career success, political activism, and the pull of addiction The book deals with the heavy issues loving your parents despite your childhood from hell, letting an addict hit rock bottom without trying to save them, fighting not to love someone you know will hurt you repeatedly but just as deftly deals with the humor, pathos, and delights of everyday life.What I loved so much about this book is how quickly I was hooked into the characters lives I understood what motivated them, what made them happy or disappointed them, what they wanted most from life, and what their fears were Even if I couldn t completely sympathize with each of the characters throughout the entire book Carmen, in particular, can beprickly than Nick or Alice , I felt totally immersed in the flow of the story and the way their lives progressed And while this book isn t without its drama, some of the quieter moments are so beautifully written I ve seen some fantastic reviews of this book and a lot of lukewarm reviews although it appears some of those stem from confusion about the plot , but I can unequivocally say this has been one of the best books I ve read so far this year

  3. says:

    This is the worst book I ve read in a long time Sorry I a paid for it and sorry I had to give it a one star rating but there was no zero.The premise of the book is what drew me in and effectively had nothing to do with the book This book was nothingthan multiple adults expressing their inability for any persnal resposibility They kill a child, she ruins their lives Bad parenting, ruins their lives They are free to make poor decisions because the past has somehow bound them to it.Bette This is the worst book I ve read in a long time Sorry I a paid for it and sorry I had to give it a one star rating but there was no zero.The premise of the book is what drew me in and effectively had nothing to do with the book This book was nothingthan multiple adults expressing their inability for any persnal resposibility They kill a child, she ruins their lives Bad parenting, ruins their lives They are free to make poor decisions because the past has somehow bound them to it.Better yet Anshaw uses this work to do typical conservative bashing I found her treatment of 9 11 particularly offensive Advertise your book correctly, I m sure it has market This in essence is what the book is about The Social Worker who works for battered women yet can t forgive her mother for staying in an abusive relationship The sister who becomes rich off her art through government grants and spends her earnings all on herself The only redeemable character is the brother, who though an addict, at least feels some responsibility for his action or inaction While sad, I at least understand that Then their was a whole cast of superfluous characters The poor child that was killed is not relevant to this story These people would have been the same whether they had been in the accident or not This book is simply about the inability to take personal responsibility It s a shame, that might have been happier people.Shamefully this is not the book that was promoted

  4. says:

    Either Goodreads is going to have to addstar giving capabilities, or I will have to go and undo many 5 star ratings I have given, reconsidered in comparison with this book There is a casual conversation in the book describing how before the big bang, the entire universe was the size of a dime There is another one about whether one could possibly step outside of time Don t be put off, I know nothing about physics or astronomy and I followed it easily There is an artist who paints a se Either Goodreads is going to have to addstar giving capabilities, or I will have to go and undo many 5 star ratings I have given, reconsidered in comparison with this book There is a casual conversation in the book describing how before the big bang, the entire universe was the size of a dime There is another one about whether one could possibly step outside of time Don t be put off, I know nothing about physics or astronomy and I followed it easily There is an artist who paints a series of painting that will never be seen by anyone but herself All these come together, along with the quotidian lumbering of everday life, to burst open the readers mind and heart It s a novel about forgiveness, redemption, consequences, time and space, love, family, art, society I can t think of anything important to humans that this novel doesn t in some way address.Meanwhile, the writing is beautiful and seamless Sometimes in novels full of big ideas the writing is either not up to snuff, or too self conscious None of that here Nor does the forward emotional movement of plot suffer from big idea syndrome I cared about the characters and when I was done, flipped right back to the beginning of the book and reread it, partly just to spendtime with them.This book is phenomenal Just go read it right now

  5. says:

    I really enjoyed this novel The writing is excellent and the story rang true for me Each of the siblings is flawed, often in very destructive ways but their love for each other was close to unconditional Unlike many of the reviewers here, I liked Alice, Carmen and Nick I also liked the way the author started many new chapters in a much later time period It would take me a paragraph or two to catch the drift but I enjoyed the surprise I wasn t convinced that the accident was the primary rea I really enjoyed this novel The writing is excellent and the story rang true for me Each of the siblings is flawed, often in very destructive ways but their love for each other was close to unconditional Unlike many of the reviewers here, I liked Alice, Carmen and Nick I also liked the way the author started many new chapters in a much later time period It would take me a paragraph or two to catch the drift but I enjoyed the surprise I wasn t convinced that the accident was the primary reason for Carmen or Alice s guilt or their life choices Nick, on the other hand, clearly self destructs from that moment on He admits to himself and eventually to Alice that he saw the girl emerge into the road in time to possibly prevent the accident He s the one that periodically revisits the place and the family of the young girl Carmen and Alice s lives arelikely shaped by their self centered bully of a father and detached and ineffectual mother Carol Anshaw is a terrific writer, at times, very funny Nick, as tragic as he was, could make me laugh out loud He never seemed to lose his sweetness or naivet , even as he sank into total despair and death in the end Finally, it s enjoyable to read a novel with lesbian characters that is so well written, humorous and poignant

  6. says:

    I really, really liked this book In essence, it is about the messiness of family life but its focus on humanness and the ties that bind is particularly preciseWhen you add us up, you always have to carry the one This novel is an engrossing tale of a family affected by tragedy It opens in 1983 with the bohemian wedding of Carmen in rural Wisconsin After the wedding, Carmen s sister Alice, brother Matt, their subsequent dates and the wedding singer, Tom, share a ride and are all too drunk s I really, really liked this book In essence, it is about the messiness of family life but its focus on humanness and the ties that bind is particularly preciseWhen you add us up, you always have to carry the one This novel is an engrossing tale of a family affected by tragedy It opens in 1983 with the bohemian wedding of Carmen in rural Wisconsin After the wedding, Carmen s sister Alice, brother Matt, their subsequent dates and the wedding singer, Tom, share a ride and are all too drunk stoned tired or all of the above to see 10 year old Casey Redman stray into the path of their car While this all sounds very soap like, Anshaw spares the melodrama and instead steers the story towards a nuanced and concise look the characters lives over the following 25 years, as they all deal with and carry the guilt carry the one from the accident Through marriage, affairs, divorce, parenthood and addiction, and the modesty and triumph of everyday life and ordinary days, Carry the One shows us how one moment can alter the trajectory of life and how when faced with tragedy, some people will thrive while others will self destruct.This novel is beautifully observed It is moving and nuanced and is saved from heaviness by Anshaw s wonderful warmth and clever wit The structure is simple and the writing subtle, but don t let that fool you this is one of the most vibrant books I have ever read, with superb storytelling and expertly evoked characters Definitely a must read if you enjoy character driven contemporary fiction about people and relationships 4.5 stars, rounded up

  7. says:

    A group of drunk people, on their drive home from a wedding, hit and kill a little girl running across the road This happens in the first chapter, and is quite the start From there, every chapter moves forward a couple years and follows some of the people invovled in the accident My problem with the book was that the accident has little to do with the story after that first chapter, which isn t what I expected based on the synopsis The writing was nice, sure but I ve seen better The chara A group of drunk people, on their drive home from a wedding, hit and kill a little girl running across the road This happens in the first chapter, and is quite the start From there, every chapter moves forward a couple years and follows some of the people invovled in the accident My problem with the book was that the accident has little to do with the story after that first chapter, which isn t what I expected based on the synopsis The writing was nice, sure but I ve seen better The characters were flawed but boring, and I couldn t connect or care about any of them Maybe my expectations were too high, but it was the cover s synopsis that made me think the book would be incredibly moving and it wasn t

  8. says:

    Review posted on Alexa Loves BooksEven though I finished this novel last week, I found I needed a little time before I could even attempt to write a coherent review There were just a lot of words and impressions and feelings swirling about in my head though they remain untamed, it is my hope that I can organize them in a way that can fully and sufficiently express what I thought of Carry the One.Carol Anshaw has a masterful way with words The story is beautifully written, with characters that Review posted on Alexa Loves BooksEven though I finished this novel last week, I found I needed a little time before I could even attempt to write a coherent review There were just a lot of words and impressions and feelings swirling about in my head though they remain untamed, it is my hope that I can organize them in a way that can fully and sufficiently express what I thought of Carry the One.Carol Anshaw has a masterful way with words The story is beautifully written, with characters that come across as genuine and descriptive turns of phrase Though she never attempts to follow a precise timeline, the passage of time and the changes that occur during them come across clear enough The end result is a novel where it appears that Anshaw is picking out the moments that we must see, the significant ones, the ones that really matter.The book chronicles the journey, mainly of the three siblings, as they carry the one with them all their lives We see how, either subtly or obviously, the accident affected each of them and the outcome of their lives The book is not about the accident it is about the reaction to it, whether it is a reaction that is consciously embraced or unconsciously worms it way in out of nowhere It remains in the background of their lives, as each one of them tries to deal with their grief and guilt and move on Because of the realistic way that the portrayal of dealing with these emotions was done, I found the book utterly compelling We see different reactions in the novel a hopeless despair, a furious need to get it out of the system and a need to compensate with steadiness Each of these are portrayed so eloquently, so beautifully.Not only is the plot brilliant, but the carefully molded characters come to life with Anshaw s words We discover their thoughts, habits, talents, worries and secrets especially in lieu of the accident The book feels a bit voyeuristic to me, as the reader examines these characters Alice, Carmen and Nick and their lives in detail, getting glimpses of them that perhaps were meant to be private This feeling that I could see what no one else in their world at least could further fueled my interest in the novel.Carry the One is not an easy read but it is one that is worth it in the end

  9. says:

    Great premise Not so great execution The premise of the book is the after effects on the five people in the car that hits and kills Casey Redman However, the book focuses on the three siblings one who gets married for really stupid reasons and is a do gooder Carmen one who is a lesbian and paints Alice , and one who does drugs and is an astronomer Nick Oh, yeah, Carmen wasn t in the car, although it was her wedding they were leaving The driver of the car Olivia , another passenger Great premise Not so great execution The premise of the book is the after effects on the five people in the car that hits and kills Casey Redman However, the book focuses on the three siblings one who gets married for really stupid reasons and is a do gooder Carmen one who is a lesbian and paints Alice , and one who does drugs and is an astronomer Nick Oh, yeah, Carmen wasn t in the car, although it was her wedding they were leaving The driver of the car Olivia , another passenger Tom , Carmen s son, the siblings parents, and Casey Redman s parents are small side stories The novel spans a number of years, from Carmen s wedding to Carmen s son going home to his wife My biggest problem with the novel, besides a stilted writing style, was that the evolution of every character had little relation to the car accident that is supposedly central to the theme Unless the point was that tragic events shape but don t fundamentally change us Carmen s stories are mostly about doing good and being a suburbanite mom sweet but boring Alice s stories are mostly about having sex with various women I guess the author or an editor thought that would be erotically charged like the jacket says, but I m going with boring Nick s stories are about doing drugs, dating Olivia, and feeling guilty about the car accident the best of the deepest pain, longings, joys, and transcendent moments of understanding that the jacket says we re going to get The stories are woven together, although the book feltlike a series of short stories rather than a novel

  10. says:

    The first thing I noticed about this book, Carry the One by Carol Anshaw, was the title I love the dual meaning the reference to mathematics and also how it ultimately relates to the specifics of this story.This book is filled with complex characters with complicated relationships to each other Some are bound by blood ties some by friendships and even romantic entanglements but most importantly they all end up bound together by the events of one night. a night that binds them through g The first thing I noticed about this book, Carry the One by Carol Anshaw, was the title I love the dual meaning the reference to mathematics and also how it ultimately relates to the specifics of this story.This book is filled with complex characters with complicated relationships to each other Some are bound by blood ties some by friendships and even romantic entanglements but most importantly they all end up bound together by the events of one night. a night that binds them through guilt, regret and a sorrow they find it difficult to speak of. for the rest of their lives.Allow me to set the sceneA group of friends is gathered to attend a wedding. the wedding of Carmen and Matt The story begins with a wedding and this occasion is immediately followed by a death the death of a nine year old girl Gathered for the wedding reception are of course, Matt and Carmen Carmen s siblings Alice and Nick, Olivia Nick s girlfriend and Matt s sister Maude who is also Alice s sometime girlfriend After the reception ends, the group piles into a car to drive back to the city The night is warm and foggy and everyone in the car is in various stages of intoxication Olivia is driving and suddenly a young girl appears out of nowhere looking to the occupants of the car as unreal and ethereal The first the occupants of the car truly see her is when her face os pressed against the windshield Even then the scene simply feels imagined But it ISN T imagined The young girl is indeed dead and it is the death of this child which is at the center of this moving and quite complicated story.The story follows Carmen, her siblings and the other occupants of the car that night through the next twenty five years of their lives through all of the typical milestones which occur in the life of a person careers developed, love affairs begun and ended, becoming parents and divorce But what makes the story of this particular group of people unique is the thing which binds these people together. the death of that little girl on that warm, foggy night And each of them carry her with them through every milestone they experience They can t help but think of who and what this child might have become And of course, there is the never ending guilt and remorse they feel over her life ending before it had really begun The reader follows each character through the years, witness to how each deals with or doesn t the guilt Carmen becomes a social activist and works in a women s shelter Carmen s sister, Alice, is a painter and feverishly, manically paints this tragic girl at various stages of the life she never got the chance to have And Carmen s brother Nick well, he just can t get stoned enough to assuage HIS guilt Each character, in his her way is seeking atonement and redemption They come together often and seem to agree that. Like in arithmetic Because of the accident, we re not just separate numbers When you add us up, you always have to carry the one And they all DID carry the child with them and I m not at all convinced that these characters, despite their efforts, ever found what they were searching for perhaps it does not exist.This book encouraged me to consider all the various ways human beings cope with and express guilt and the very complex ways people go about attempting to make things right balance the scales As Nick said to Alice I think we altered what was supposed to happen And we can t go back and make it happen right So we re stuck in some kind of endless loop trying to improve the past, which as you might notice, is resistant to revision Carol Anshaw has written a gripping story of incredible insight into these flawed and yet completely sympathetic characters

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *