Half a Life A Memoir Author:Darin Strauss In this powerful, unforgettable memoir, acclaimed novelist Darin Strauss recounts a tragedy and its aftermath. In the last month of his high school career, just after turning eighteen, Strauss is behind the wheel of his father's Oldsmobile, driving with friends, having "thoughts of mini-golf, another thought of maybe just going to... more » the beach." Then, out of the blue: a collision that results in the death of a bicycling classmate and that shadows the rest of his life. In haunting, penetrating prose, Darin Strauss explores loss and guilt, maturity and accountability, hope and acceptance. The result is a staggering tour de force. « less
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I admit that I read this book out of morbid curiosity. I've known a few kids growing up that were killed accidentally (or not so accidentally). I've often wondered what the person who killed them went through in the years after the accident. So it was with this morbid curiosity that I bought this book. It was a good book - don't get me wrong - but Darin Strauss spends so much time philosophizing and comparing his feelings to other things in life - that it was hard to really enjoy the book. Now before you say "how can you enjoy a book about a girl who died?", let ME say that I think that this book really could have been enjoyable. He spent too much of the book philosophizing, pondering and comparing his feelings. This came off as "filler" to me. This book is a short read, and it would have been even shorter had he not had so much "filler". I read the book in about two and a half hours. I could be more of an "action" reader as well. I would recommend this book to anyone who has the same morbid curiosity as I did, and who wants a fairly quick read...but expect to be reading a LOT of description of feelings as well as a lot of comparisons.
Some reads are far beyond what one expects. This was one for me. I found it eye-opening and wrenching. A personal tragedy that occurred in the author's eighteenth year has haunted him throughout his life. While he could not avoid the accident that changed him he had carried guilt for years. He tried and tried to put it behind him but failed again and again. Therapy didn't help, talking about it didn't help. Nothing seemed to work for him until he read an article about grief and how some people could contain it by putting it on tape and listening to it when they needed to do so. In this way the event is restricted to a time and place. Writing this book was his attempt to move into the future and beyond the accident that so affected his life. One observation seemed particularly cryptic to me. He said that he probably would not have become an author if this had not happened to him.