Bad things can bring us together.

12174975Sometimes the ties that bind people together are nice. Things like family and friendship, like shared happy memories and a mutual fondness for knitting, or basketball, or Dungeons & Dragons. But other times they’re not so nice. Carry the One tells the story of one of those times.

Right at the beginning of this book, something really, really terrible happens. I’m not going to tell you what, because spoilers, but suffice to say that the people involved—a small group of youngish adult siblings and friends—can never quite move past it and spend the next quarter century trying to make sense of its impact on their lives.

But don’t get the wrong idea, okay? I realize a premise like this makes the whole thing sound like a bit of a downer, but it isn’t. Really. This is the kind of book you’ll read in 24 hours for the sheer joy of it. Carol Anshaw’s characters are as real as any I’ve read; both individually and as a group, they respond to what happens the way people would: clumsily, painfully, and with surprising moments of humor and grace.

So, okay, yes, there are definitely sad bits. But only because life has sad bits. There are also funny bits and clever bits and warm, joyous bits. Because, you know, that’s how life goes. And that’s what this book is about—how life goes, and how life goes on.

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