The Night of the Gun

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David Carr was an addict for more than twenty years — first dope, then coke, then finally crack — before the prospect of losing his newborn twins made him sober up in a bid to win custody from their crack-dealer mother. Once recovered, he found that his recollection of his ‘lost’ years differed — sometimes radically — from that of his family and friends. The night, for example, his best friend pulled a gun on him. ‘No,’ said the friend (to David’s horror, as a lifelong pacifist), ‘It was you that had the gun.’ Using all his skills as an investigative reporter, he set out to research his own life, interviewing everyone from his parents and his ex-partners to the policemen who arrested him, the doctors who treated him and the lawyers who fought to prove he was fit to have custody of his kids. Unflinchingly honest and beautifully written, the result is both a shocking account of the depths of addiction and a fascinating examination of how — and why — our memories deceive us. As David says, we remember the stories we can live with, not the ones that happened.

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