Catherine's Reviews > Half a Life

Half a Life by Darin Strauss
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's review
Dec 28, 10

bookshelves: biography-and-memoir
Read from December 26 to 28, 2010

There is a substantial element of voyeurism in choosing to read a book like this memoir about the author’s involvement at age 18 in the death of a classmate who rode her bike into the path of his car. Before I even opened the book I was put off by the book-jacket covering only half of the book, which seemed icky and gimmicky in view of the well-publicized opening sentence: “Half my life ago, I killed a girl.”

Causing someone’s death, yet not being guilty of wrongdoing is a complicated and sad thing – I’m sure you never would completely get over it. Intentional or not, the narrative voice signaled that the author’s emotional capacity was frozen in adolescence like the life of his classmate. At one point in the story the author is called out for feeling sorry for himself. I also sensed that self-pity until the last couple of chapters, when it seemingly turned to indifference and left me questioning his motivation for writing the book.

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