David Carr's memoir has been a good motivational read for me. The whole concept of this writing revolves around what a drug addict stands to lose in his life due to his addiction and how the realization of his loss can guide him on to the road of continuous betterment and success. The book is not really written in the most impressive, easy to read style yet the idea behind the context is very important.
Generally, people prefer to read success stories of famous personalities but most of these autobiographies are about ‘working hard’ or getting ‘lucky’, which leads them to a successful position to which very few people can reach in their lives. However, this book gives an inspiration from the perspective of a common man, who is faced by a lot of misfortunes and becomes a drug addict. This addiction had an adverse effect on his social status, yet when he wanted to lift himself up he gave up that addiction and became a responsible citizen. In my opinion, this book narrates a heroic effort of a common man who has saved himself from being a useless member of society. It inspires its readers not to lose hope even if everything is not going to a specific plan and shows that it is always possible to turn the tide. In this respect, the book offers a lot of motivation (Reese, 2008, Carr, p 320-8).
The value of this book is due to the guidance held in it. It is a story of a common man, whose story will be more appealing for most readers than that of a celebrity, and hence, more influential and recommended to read. A person gets addicted to something when it gives him pleasure or help to divert attention from a tragedy in a person’s life. But ultimately, it destroys all the other things in a person’s life. Under such circumstances, the road to recovery is very difficult and most people are unable to see the ‘light at the end of the tunnel. However, the significance of this book is that it illustrates how recovery can be made and the benefits of pursuing recovery.
Significance of the Book
'Night of the Gun' holds the same value as any other famous person's success story can have. Even though it does not inform the readers on how to be an extraordinary person in his or her life but it clarifies the idea of moment of realization of loss of something dear. Moreover, it illustrates the motivational will power that could lead any depressed, unsuccessful, society-rejected person to begin or resume his/her life in a way every normal person lives it. The value here is to give direction to people to divert them from a destructive path and help them become responsible citizens. It serves by many to the society’s conflicts by discussing such aspects of society that add negativity to it. The readers get to know what they stand to lose in their lives due to drug addictions and how it feels losing everything else in a person’s life (Fredenburg, 2011, Carr, p 130-210).
However, on an individual level it is important to discuss how a person falls into any kind of addiction, and what actually leads him to the road of recovery. Is it some internal realization that brings this apparent change? Or is it denial from society that brings them on the path of recovery and thus calling it recovery could be manipulative? In my opinion, it is not the society that can bring about any change within the person or help give up an addiction. It is self-realization that occurs within a person that makes him become aware of what is right and what is wrong. The book teaches that society labels certain things as right and certain things as wrong but it does not have much impact on how individuals distinguish between the right and wrong. For instance, if the society were such a strong force as to affect the thinking process of a person on an individual level, there would never be such a thing as drug addiction or crime. So, this book teaches that the real right and wrong comes from inside the person. And this is precisely the reason why Carr at times feels ashamed of his addiction to drugs and boasts about it. The book does not really differentiate between good or bad but tells you that a drug addiction is something that gives a person comfort and helps escape the problems facing him. However, when such an addiction causes a person to lose important things in his life (i.e. friend, family, career, and social status) he realizes that it is time that he started looking for a way to give up.
The book also highlights a few very important features of a person’s life, which most people take for granted and do not attach much importance to until they lose them. These things include memories and past experiences. Psychologists insist that a person’s past experiences make up their personality, and a drug addict may have many missing things in their lives. In my opinion, the reason why Carr feels like writing this memoir is because he wants to recollect past-life memories he is unaware of but which actually shape his personality. He felt the need to know about his family, friends and colleagues, as well as other things he did in his life but is unaware of. What he experiences is a state commonly referred to as the ‘loss of identity’. The book teaches that for a balanced personality and psychological stature, a person’s identity, memory, experiences are very important. Moreover, it is only when an addict begins his search for his memories, that he truly begins his journey towards recovery (Reese, 2008).
I would like to conclude by quoting Bradshaw (2005), "All sin tends to be addictive, and the terminal point of addiction is what is called damnation" (p 41). The lesson that is learnt from this book is that the first step to damnation is recovery; and this change always comes from the inside. Another lesson for the readers here is to acknowledge important things in your life before you lose them. All in all, lessons learnt from this book are very important for younger generation in our society who may get frustrated quickly and end up on a self-destructive path.