Customer Reviews for

Carry the One

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( 44 )
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(5)

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(7)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Moving and compassionate portrayal of difficult subject matter.

Moving and compassionate portrayal of difficult subject matter. The writing is exceptional.

posted by Anonymous on March 20, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

1.67 Stars The premise of Carry the One is simple and s

1.67 Stars

The premise of Carry the One
is simple and so very promising. Carol Anshaw begins her story ” in the hours following Carmen’s wedding reception, when a car filled with stoned, drunk, and sleepy guests accidentally hits and kills a gir...
1.67 Stars

The premise of Carry the One
is simple and so very promising. Carol Anshaw begins her story ” in the hours following Carmen’s wedding reception, when a car filled with stoned, drunk, and sleepy guests accidentally hits and kills a girl on a dark, country road. For the next twenty-five years, those involved, including Carmen and her brother and sister, connect and disconnect and reconnect with each other and their victim. As one character says, ‘“When you add us up, you always have to carry the one.’”
However, my hopes for the novel were quickly dashed. I expected a good character driven story along the lines of those told by Joyce Carol Oates and Jodi Picoult because tragedies affect individuals so very differently. Some people may be so guilt ridden that they may carry their guilt to the extreme and self destruct, while others are driven to lead lives devoted to helping others while losing their own identity in their efforts.

But Anshaw focuses primarily on Carmen, Nick, and Alice. Through each sibling’s point of view the reader sees each going through varying stages of their lives without much thought to ten year old Casey Redman. Though Alice paints the little girl each year in the same clothes she wore the night she was killed as Alice thought she would be, Anshaw failed to explore the artist’s need to paint the child. Alice’s visit to the home where Anne Frank hid for 2 years was a missed opportunity given Alice’s reaction to both dead girls. Anshaw was more interested in Alice’s relationship with Maude (Matt’s sister). The sex scenes between the two women were very uncomfortable to read.

Carmen did not seem affected by the accident throughout her life. She never mentioned the accident and rarely commented when one of the nine “so called” friends commented upon it. Yet, Matt used the accident as a reason for the dissolution of their marriage; the other was he wanted “someone more Catholic.
the attitudes of both Carmen and Matt I dare say reflected those of the author and as a Catholic myself was very offensive. Annulment is a long process that begins at the pastoral parish level and ends at the Papal level. The reasons given by the author for their Annulment is not among the 5 conditions that the Church considers declaring a marriage null. Also, Carmen’s journey toward radial activism is really not Catholic either. The scene at the Women’s Center, while dramatic, did not ring true to me, since I’ve never seen any violence during annual prayer vigilances I attend protesting the Roe v. Wade decision – my only activist action. Anshaw depicts her as strong woman, but she gets so very overwhelmed as a single mother, she has Carmen dressing Gabe in his school clothes at bed time so he would be ready when he awoke. What right minded woman, liberal or not, would do such a thing?

Nick’s story rings true to the novel’s premise. He is the most affected by the tragic accident, other than the actual driver, Olivia. Nick is brilliant, but hopelessly addicted to drugs. His struggle with his addiction and his secret guilt is the most interesting of all of the characters. He marries Olivia, visits Casey’s parents, and fights his brilliance out of that guilt through drugs and alcohol. We know the end of his struggles as they are beginning. Yet, Olivia is completely epigamic. She spends time in federal prison not for her role in Redman’s death, but for the undelivered mail the Police found in the trunk of her car. She comes out of prison hard and isolated, accepting punishment for the child’s death. She further atones for sin by deciding to have children. Why the author chose to place Olivia at the beginning and end of the novel is baffling, since she was integral to the story’s premise. Also, Olivia was one of the more interesting characters.

Carry the One
was really the three siblings’ story. A coming of age story really about the effects of an abusive father and a not so present mother that really formed their choices in life, rather than how a tragic event changed their lives. Their characters were caricatures rather than three dimensional. Anshaw’s writing was superb most of time with a few misses here and there. Her strong attitudes were present throughout the story, and I found them to be heavy handed, not entertaining at all. Good writing does not make a good book, but perhaps as a more conservative Catholic plebeian I am not her target audience.

posted by Molinarolo on March 14, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2012

    1.67 Stars The premise of Carry the One is simple and s

    1.67 Stars

    The premise of <i>Carry the One</i>
    is simple and so very promising. Carol Anshaw begins her story <i>&rdquo; in the hours following Carmen&rsquo;s wedding reception, when a car filled with stoned, drunk, and sleepy guests accidentally hits and kills a girl on a dark, country road. For the next twenty-five years, those involved, including Carmen and her brother and sister, connect and disconnect and reconnect with each other and their victim. As one character says, &lsquo;&ldquo;When you add us up, you always have to carry the one.&rsquo;&rdquo;</i>
    However, my hopes for the novel were quickly dashed. I expected a good character driven story along the lines of those told by Joyce Carol Oates and Jodi Picoult because tragedies affect individuals so very differently. Some people may be so guilt ridden that they may carry their guilt to the extreme and self destruct, while others are driven to lead lives devoted to helping others while losing their own identity in their efforts.

    But Anshaw focuses primarily on Carmen, Nick, and Alice. Through each sibling&rsquo;s point of view the reader sees each going through varying stages of their lives without much thought to ten year old Casey Redman. Though Alice paints the little girl each year in the same clothes she wore the night she was killed as Alice thought she would be, Anshaw failed to explore the artist&rsquo;s need to paint the child. Alice&rsquo;s visit to the home where Anne Frank hid for 2 years was a missed opportunity given Alice&rsquo;s reaction to both dead girls. Anshaw was more interested in Alice&rsquo;s relationship with Maude (Matt&rsquo;s sister). The sex scenes between the two women were very uncomfortable to read.

    Carmen did not seem affected by the accident throughout her life. She never mentioned the accident and rarely commented when one of the nine &ldquo;so called&rdquo; friends commented upon it. Yet, Matt used the accident as a reason for the dissolution of their marriage; the other was he wanted <i>&ldquo;someone more Catholic. </i>
    the attitudes of both Carmen and Matt I dare say reflected those of the author and as a Catholic myself was very offensive. Annulment is a long process that begins at the pastoral parish level and ends at the Papal level. The reasons given by the author for their Annulment is not among the 5 conditions that the Church considers declaring a marriage null. Also, Carmen&rsquo;s journey toward radial activism is really not Catholic either. The scene at the Women&rsquo;s Center, while dramatic, did not ring true to me, since I&rsquo;ve never seen any violence during annual prayer vigilances I attend protesting the Roe v. Wade decision &ndash; my only activist action. Anshaw depicts her as strong woman, but she gets so very overwhelmed as a single mother, she has Carmen dressing Gabe in his school clothes at bed time so he would be ready when he awoke. What right minded woman, liberal or not, would do such a thing?

    Nick&rsquo;s story rings true to the novel&rsquo;s premise. He is the most affected by the tragic accident, other than the actual driver, Olivia. Nick is brilliant, but hopelessly addicted to drugs. His struggle with his addiction and his secret guilt is the most interesting of all of the characters. He marries Olivia, visits Casey&rsquo;s parents, and fights his brilliance out of that guilt through drugs and alcohol. We know the end of his struggles as they are beginning. Yet, Olivia is completely epigamic. She spends time in federal prison not for her role in Redman&rsquo;s death, but for the undelivered mail the Police found in the trunk of her car. She comes out of prison hard and isolated, accepting punishment for the child&rsquo;s death. She further atones for sin by deciding to have children. Why the author chose to place Olivia at the beginning and end of the novel is baffling, since she was integral to the story&rsquo;s premise. Also, Olivia was one of the more interesting characters.

    <i> Carry the One</i>
    was really the three siblings&rsquo; story. A coming of age story really about the effects of an abusive father and a not so present mother that really formed their choices in life, rather than how a tragic event changed their lives. Their characters were caricatures rather than three dimensional. Anshaw&rsquo;s writing was superb most of time with a few misses here and there. Her strong attitudes were present throughout the story, and I found them to be heavy handed, not entertaining at all. Good writing does not make a good book, but perhaps as a more conservative Catholic plebeian I am not her target audience.

    5 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2012

    Great start then fizzled

    I was a little disappointed in this book. I finished it but just because I wanted to see if anything interesting was going to happen after the great start. The premise was a good one but it felt disconnected- like there were too many separate stories going on that connected in some way but didn't feel connected. Some of the different story lines were boring and forced. It wasn't horrible, just blah. I wouldn't recommend it.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 6, 2013

    I actually selected this book for my book club based on the summ

    I actually selected this book for my book club based on the summary. Boy was I wrong! I was almost too ashamed to show up to the monthly meeting after reading this book. After the first chapter, the story moves painfully slow. The characters have no redeeming qualities. In the end, I, along with my book club colleagues, were left feeling depressed and frustrated. Nice premise; it was just done ALL wrong. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2013

    Boring

    This book spans 25 years and I think it took 25 years to get through it. I have a hard time not finishing a book once I start it, but I had a hard time finishing this one. I would not recommend to my friends.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 2, 2012

    This book started out with a very intriguing premise but wandere

    This book started out with a very intriguing premise but wandered around too much to hold my interest.

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  • Posted April 30, 2012

    Our book club members agreed that Carry the One was a disappoint

    Our book club members agreed that Carry the One was a disappointing read in which the characters were poorly developed. The majority of the characters weren't even likeable. While the quality of Anshaw's descriptive writing was commented on by the majority of our club members all agreed that even the quality of her writing wasn't enough to make us care about her characters and the storyline.

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    Posted December 26, 2012

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    Posted March 13, 2012

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    Posted March 4, 2013

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    Posted June 21, 2012

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    Posted March 16, 2012

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