Erica's Reviews > Half a Life: A Memoir

Half a Life by Darin Strauss
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Apr 12, 2011

Read in April, 2011

It's really strange to read a memoir written by someone you know about something so personal. Darin Strauss was one of my college writing teachers. I took his class more than once and between Darin himself and some of the other people there that class shaped a lot of who I am as a writer. This book is about how he accidentally hit a classmate of his with his car and killed her when he was a teenager, and though he had definitely mentioned that in class once, it was in an offhand remark. But this memoir is completely raw and honest and goes deeply into it. A friend said she felt like he had to write this book and I agree--there is something visceral about it that I liked. Still, I wonder what it would have been like to read this if I had not known Darin at all.

My favorite quote of the book, in fact, had nothing to do with the main thrust of it. Darin is driving with his wife and looks over at her and thinks that if you've made it to a certain age and you look at your partner and the predominant thing you feel is luck, you've chosen well. This sentiment, beyond anything else in the book, really hit me. When I look at Tom, I feel extraordinarily lucky.
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