Kim's Reviews > Half a Life

Half a Life by Darin Strauss
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's review
Feb 10, 2012

really liked it
Read from February 08 to 10, 2012

I first heard of this book when an excerpt was read on an episode of "This American Life" - can't remember which one. It is a memoir written by a guy who, when he was a senior in high school, hit another student with his car, killing her. And though he was absolved of any blame, the book is about him coming to terms with the accident and his own guilt and grief. The first 2/3 of this book were probably more like 5 stars for me. There were passages that were so stark and real and agonizing that I felt like I could hardly breathe. The honesty with which he writes is amazing. It was such an incredible depiction of what it is like to feel wrenching guilt about something that is not your fault, what it is like to mourn as a teenager, what it is like to feel defined by tragedy. I felt it all so viscerally. It is hard to even describe. As the book went on, and the story got farther away from the time of the accident, I felt like some of the emotional punch wore off and things grew unnecessarily wordy, but I am not sure how he could really sustain that level of emotion anyway. Overall, a very moving story, to say the least.

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