CARRY THE ONE. By Carol Anshaw. Simon & Schuster. 253 pages. $25.

On the evening of Carmen and Matt’s very nontraditional wedding, Carmen’s siblings, Alice and Nick, pile into the car with a few other guests, all of whom are sleepy or far from sober.

When a young girl dances into the road and is run over by the wedding guests, the girl’s death takes on a profound role in each of the revelers’ lives. Over the course of the next 25 years, novelist Carol Anshaw follows the characters as they change and evolve.

Dealing with issues such as addiction, homosexuality, family dysfunction, divorce, narcissism and more, the novel easily could have fal- len into the maudlin. But Anshaw is a skilled author, creating characters of great depth.

Her storytelling is witty and reflective, serving as a moving reminder that we are all “carrying the one” — someone in our lives that shaped who and what we are.

Reviewer Dana Frazeur, a marketing consultant based in Mount Pleasant