Dysfunctional fiction, meet my dysfunctional schedule. That’s summer in a nutshell. I need books that I can either pick up and put down easily without having to think too hard when I revisit them, or books that allow me to finish them in essentially one sitting—a trip to the pool and an evening concert, a long card ride, etc. I barely have enough space in the brain to remember which LittleLitzy has to be at soccer practice and which one has swimming lessons, let alone a complicated plotline.
And with that, Carry The One fits the bill.
The story follows two sisters and a brother in the aftermath of an accident that tragically kills a young girl. This is not a spoiler—the accident itself is over before you need to put the book down for a break. It’s the years that follow that prove the most intriguing to the reader. The lives of Carmen, Alice and Nick are rich and engaging, sad and suffocating, and definitely not static. Years pass between chapters, making this one fairly easy to set down and revisit if you can’t commit to a stretch of time to read.
Will Carmen find peace in a relationship? I’m interested if others are as drawn to her relationship with her husband’s daughter as I was—or if they’re more invested in the one between her and her son, Gabe. And what of Alice and Maude, lovers that began a relationship the night of the accident and just can’t quite quit each other? Finally, there’s poor, tortured Nick—the brother who just can’t get his shit together, no matter how he tries.
I felt little resolution in the relationship between the sibs and their mother—it seems much of the acrimony is inferred, and maybe knowing more about their childhood would explain their lives in the present. No matter—some things are better left unsaid. An understated tale, wrought with all the modern day obstacles, and likely to have you pause and give thought to your own familial ties. A great summer read.
Carry The One