Half A Life

A Memoir by Darin Strauss

Darin Strauss

Long Island born, forty-four year old Darin is a well rounded author. Also he is considered an American best seller with books such as, "As Smart as We Are", "Long Island Shaolin", and "Chang and Eng". Darin is a persistent worker and he earned many awards, most notably the Guggenheim Fellowship and National Book Critics Circle Award.
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Half A life

In this powerful, unforgettable memoir, Darin Strauss walks back through time in is High school. Remembering the most tragic and haunting memory of his teenager years. Darin took his father's oldsmobile to go out with his friends to play some mini-golf. As the moment surpasses a female student swerves in front of him resulting in a collision, killing the female. After the event Darin Strauss leads his life personally, immediately and embarks on a emotional journey.

Character Analysis

Darin Strauss

“So few of our days contain actions that are irrevocable. Our lives are designed not to allow for anything irrevocable”

Darin, (the protagonist) after his altercation with the car to car mishap, puts himself into a alternate reality. The reality being that the confrontation never happened. He does this for half his life and reminisces for all the time he felt pressured to live his life for two people. He tries to make his life special, meaningful, and worthy of the fact that he lived while a fellow schoolmate did not.

Literary Elements


The theme of living one's life for two people - of making his life "count" for two after the accident, is one that is especially interesting. Eventually Darin realizes this is impossible. As a high schooler he had unintentionally promised Celine's mother that he would make his life count for two. The mother got an answer she wanted to hear from a person unable to fully understand what he is agreeing to. The psychological factor of this was a hefty weight on Darin's shoulders.


Throughout the memoir, Darin progresses his life with this past. The past defines him for Half is life. He was graduating in one month before the accident, and all of his experiences afterwards such as going to college, perusing his writing career, getting married, and becoming a father. All were effected in some shape or form by this accident. It gave him the drive to become the person he is today. Even though a fatality brought him down, in the long run he grew up to be the person that makes him proud.

Miilkbone - Keep It Real Instrumental