Riley's Reviews > Half a Life: A Memoir

Half a Life by Darin Strauss
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's review
May 24, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction
Read from May 24 to 25, 2011

The first section (about the accident) is choppy, complex, and full of future-self-looking-back insights that make it hard to connect with what's happening in the story. I wish Strauss had been able to commit to the past, had allowed himself to show us what that time was like WITHOUT all the disclaimers and "please don't think badly of me" remarks. He wrote "My fear now is that all of this sounds over-aestheticized, and vague." Unfortunately that's exactly what happened.

HOWEVER. The following sections (about the trial, about his slow acceptance, about his "conclusions") were well-written and much easier to get into. It's a short memoir on a topic that has always interested me (what happens to someone after they have taken a life? whether accidentally or on purpose) and I enjoyed his reflections. I also found myself identifying with some of them, due to a very different kind of incident in my own past, which also took place during my senior year of high school.

So it was a bit of a mixed bag for me. But not a bad one.
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