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“When Darin Strauss was 18 years old, he was in a car accident that resulted in the death of a bicyclist. Darin was the driver, and the victim was one of his high school classmates. This is a book about survivor's guilt that has haunted him for, literally, half of his life. Though he was cleared of wrong-doing, Strauss has always felt guilty, always carried the responsibility for someone else's death with him. This is a brutally honest and unflinching book that Strauss originally wrote for himself and then a friend talked him into submitting a version to NPR's This American Life. The response to that piece was overwhelming. I like a line from Kelly Corrigan's review of the book the best: 'This might be the bravest book you will ever read.'”
— Jackie Blem, Tattered Cover Bookstore, Denver, CO
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.
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“Elegant, painful, stunningly honest . . . huge [and] heartbreaking.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Darin Strauss has spent a good part of his adult life reliving, regretting and reflecting on a single, split-second incident. Half a Life is a starkly honest account of that fateful moment and his life thereafter . . . penetrating, thought-provoking.”—The Washington Post
“A book that inspires admiration, sentence by sentence . . . This is a memoir in its finest form, a fully imagined and bittersweet book that transcends a single misstep.”—Chicago Tribune
“Painfully raw and beautifully written.”—Los Angeles Times
“A remarkable, beyond-brave memoir.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“Lyrical and haunting.”—San Francisco Chronicle
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR AND THE PLAIN DEALER