Jackie's Reviews > Half a Life

Half a Life by Darin Strauss
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's review
Jun 19, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: 5-star, books-by-friends, nonfiction, pleasure-reading, work-review-related-reading
Read in June, 2010

When Darin Strauss was 18 years old, he was in an car accident that resulted in the death of a bicyclist. Darin was the driver, and the victim was one of his high school classmates. This was one month before graduation.

This is a book about survivors' guilt that has haunted him for, literally, half of his life. Though he was cleared of wrong doing, he's always felt guilty, always carried the responsibility for someone else's death with him. Her ghost has haunted him in very real ways--everything he has achieved came with the sidecar thought that "and she didn't get to do this, have this, see this, be this."

This is a brutally honest and unflinching book that Strauss originally wrote for himself ("because I deal with things by writing about them"), and then a friend talked him into submitting a version to NPR's "This American Life". The response to that piece was overwhelming. McSweeney's Books picked up the book, which will be out Sept 1, 2010. I like a line from Kelly Corrigan's review of the book the best: "This might be the bravest book you will ever read." She's right.

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