Half a Life: A Memoir

Half a Life: A Memoir

Darin Strauss

Language: English

Pages: 224

ISBN: 0812982533

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In this powerful, unforgettable memoir, acclaimed novelist Darin Strauss examines the far-reaching consequences of the tragic moment that has shadowed his whole life. In his last month of high school, he was behind the wheel of his dad's Oldsmobile, driving with friends, heading off to play mini-golf. Then: a classmate swerved in front of his car. The collision resulted in her death. With piercing insight and stark prose, Darin Strauss leads us on a deeply personal, immediate, and emotional journey—graduating high school, going away to college, starting his writing career, falling in love with his future wife, becoming a father. Along the way, he takes a hard look at loss and guilt, maturity and accountability, hope and, at last, acceptance. The result is a staggering, uplifting tour de force.

Look for special features inside, including an interview with Colum McCann.
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handshake attempted in the dark and made with the wrong person. They didn’t want me here and I didn’t want to be here. After a few more minutes, Mr. Zilke shepherded me to the door. Under the lintel, he rested an almost narcotized stare on me—tilting his face, squeezing his lip with two fingers—as if sussing out a faint noise in the house, a neighboring yard, a far-off country. “No matter what,” he said finally, “we would never blame you, Darin.” Past his shoulder, I watched the other guests

her field-hockey friend, I discovered something that for years changed how I felt about Celine’s death. Our phone chat was short and intense: “I’m really really sorry to call like this. Because, well—” Immediately I was thrashing around. Talking too fast, explaining too much. “Because I sort of, I’m taking this class and need to find out more about, you know, her. Because of the class and the class leaders thought one really helpful thing might be to—” “Wasn’t that diary thing weird?” the girl

Susannah said. She got up and went to the fridge. “Really, Darin, what about just talking to somebody?” she said. “I mean a new … someone.” I waved her off with a gesture that meant phooey. She’d heard about my day with the Shrink, that rough, wet afternoon. “I really question your decision not to try,” she said, in a darker voice. Whoa. I couldn’t believe it. Was she going to let me down? Was I going to tell myself she’d let me down, just so I could avoid talking about it? She lifted her

self-forgiveness can take you down a pretty distasteful path; there’s a lot of kitsch in a brain’s sly seduction of itself. The Complicated Grief Disorder sadness-playback treatment I mention in the book—in fact, the whole glut of post-traumatic stress disorder cures—bundles together a lot of what’s in the air, a lot of fashionable concerns, but no morality. The PTSD cure’s dutiful enthusiasm about the stems and blooms of depression and guilt may remind cynics of Ludovico’s Technique, from A

there’d been some kind of accident. And if he’d known that a person had actually been seriously hurt, let alone died, he of course wouldn’t have ever dared or even dreamed of, etc. Who cared what he said; his hands were on my shoulder. He asked three or four times how I was, and his grip on my arm felt good. When he saw I couldn’t answer, he’d interrupt my pauses. His nervous eyes watched me above his words, apologizing for the ways the excuses weren’t right even as he couldn’t stop presenting

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