All That You Leave Behind: A Memoir

Erin Lee Carr. Ballantine, $26 (272p) ISBN 978-0-399-17971-6
Documentary filmmaker Carr addresses her addiction to alcohol and her father’s influence over her in this bold and incisive memoir. The daughter of the late New York Times journalist David Carr (1956–2015), Erin and her twin sister Meagan were born three months early to parents addicted to cocaine. The weight of parenthood forced their father to straighten himself out, while the girls’ mother disappeared from their lives. Erin began drinking in high school, and, like her father, she drifted in and out of AA meetings. But after her father, who was battling lung cancer, collapsed on the New York Times newsroom floor and died at age 58, Erin realized that life is precious, and she clung to his used reporter’s notebooks and continued to send her father daily text messages for advice. Erin writes honestly about her relationship with her father (“In order for our relationship to work, I had to learn to not take his darker moments personally”) as she delivers a clear-eyed view into multigenerational substance abuse and simultaneously celebrates the redemption of a father’s love. Readers can’t help but get caught up in Erin’s tragic and ultimately transformative story. Agent: Meg Thompson, Thompson Literary. (Apr.)

Correction: An earlier version of this review incorrectly stated the author's sister started drinking in high school.

Reviewed on : 02/11/2019
Release date: 06/04/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
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