David Carr on Crack: The ‘Times’ Columnist’s Recovery Memoir

David Carr
Photo: Patrick McMullan

We just got our hands on an early, early copy of New York Times columnist David Carr's memoir, The Night of the Gun: A Reporter Investigates the Darkest Story of His Life. His Own. It documents Carr's adult life of addiction and recovery as well as his career and family trajectory. Because of the recent strain on the genre by hoaxers like JT LeRoy, Margaret Seltzer, and James Frey, Carr actually went to the trouble of video-interviewing other participants in the events that he remembered, just to be as accurate as possible. The book begins with an explanation of this, with the disclaimer: "Every effort was made to corroborate memory with fact, and in significant instances where that was not possible, it is noted in text … All of which is not to say that every word of this book is true — all human stories are subject to errors of omission, fact, or interpretation regardless of intent — only that it is as true as I could make it."

Hooray! We thought that the writer-on-an-insane-drug-binge meme was dead. But it's not — it's fully alive. In fact, Carr tells us exactly what it's like to be a young media person on crack. We have no idea if this is how it was when Whitney Houston did it, but we'd like to imagine it that way. After the jump, Carr describes his life with Anna, the mother of his twin daughters, whom he met while she was dealing cocaine.

By the spring of 1987, six months after we had gotten together, her business was in disarray, I had lost my job, and then, oh yeah, she was pregnant. Her friends begged her to have an abortion. We were fulminating crackheads, and her ex-husband, who came by to take care of the kids, was the only semiresponsible person in the house. Anna locked herself in her room for hours on end and would occasionally insist that [Carr's ex-girlfriend] was actually roaming around the rafters of her home. I explained to her how that was sort of impossible from a practical perspective, but there had been so many lies by that point she had no idea what to believe. Both of us were chronically, psychotically high, and I was spending all of my time lifting the blinds and peeking out at a world that I was increasingly scared to venture into.


The book doesn't come out until September, but you can preorder it on the Night of the Gun Website. Doesn't it sound fun?