All That You Leave Behind
Erin Lee Carr
“A documentary filmmaker and daughter of the late, great New York Times columnist David Carr celebrates and wrestles with her father’s legacy in a raw, redemptive memoir.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“A breathtaking read . . . a testimony equal parts love and candor. David would have had it no other way.”—Ta-Nehisi Coates, bestselling author of Between the World and Me
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY GLAMOUR AND MARIE CLAIRE
Dad: What will set you apart is not talent but will and a certain kind of humility. A willingness to let the world show you things that you play back as you grow as an artist. Talent is cheap.
Me: OK I will ponder these things. I am a Carr.
Dad: That should matter quite a bit, actually not the name but the guts of what that name means.
A celebrated journalist, bestselling author (The Night of the Gun), and recovering addict, David Carr was in the prime of his career when he suffered a fatal collapse in the newsroom of The New York Times in 2015. Shattered by his death, his daughter Erin Lee Carr, at age twenty-seven an up-and-coming documentary filmmaker, began combing through the entirety of their shared correspondence—1,936 items in total—in search of comfort and support.
What started as an exercise in grief quickly grew into an active investigation: Did her father’s writings contain the answers to the question of how to move forward in life and work without her biggest champion by her side? How could she fill the space left behind by a man who had come to embody journalistic integrity, rigor, and hard reporting, whose mentorship meant everything not just to her but to the many who served alongside him?
All That You Leave Behind is a poignant coming-of-age story that offers a raw and honest glimpse into the multilayered relationship between a daughter and a father. Through this lens, Erin comes to understand her own workplace missteps, existential crises, and relationship fails. While daughter and father bond over their mutual addictions and challenges with sobriety, it is their powerful sense of work and family that comes to ultimately define them.
This unique combination of Erin Lee Carr’s earnest prose and her father’s meaningful words offers a compelling read that shows us what it means to be vulnerable and lost, supported and found. It is a window into love, with all of its fierceness and frustrations.
“Thank you, Erin, for this beautiful book. Now I am going to steal all of your father’s remarkable advice and tell my kids I thought of it.”—Judd Apatow