Our Folded Hands

Women helping Women. Reaching out to the Sister who still suffers. Helping each other through the Good times and the Difficult times. To get to the SOBER way of life, One Day at a Time.

Book Club Picks 6

All That You Leave Behind: A Memoir—
Carr wept, too. I left the event deeply moved, and deeply grateful to have my own father there. I expected Carr’s memoir, All That You Leave Behind, to elicit the same level of feeling. On the page, however, she is much less successful at getting her emotions across. In part, this might be a question of voice. Carr is a highly accomplished filmmaker, best known for her HBO documentaries Mommy Dead and Dearest and Thought Crimes, and her prose has a screenwriter’s economy. She moves rapidly from scene to scene, never lingering on the complex emotions that memoirs are built to investigate. As a result, All That You Leave Behind functions far better as a portrait of David Carr than as one of the writer herself. She consistently lets her father overshadow her on the page.
Toward the book’s end, Carr cites her father’s journalistic reminder that “you are not an intrinsically interesting subject,” and yet a memoirist must be interested in herself. How else can a memoir work? Carr often seems guarded or shy on the page, as if shielding her emotions from the reader. This is especially true in the chapters dealing with her alcohol abuse. She traces her struggle to get sober while processing her father’s death, but nearly every scene ends with a blackout; she never tries to find out what happened, nor does she give voice to her sister, her best friend, and her boyfriend, all of whom were present throughout.