Half a Life

By: Emily Reilly


The book I read over the summer was Half a Life by Darin Strauss. This book is a memoir about how Darin accidentally killed a student when he was a senior in high school in 1988. He was driving around with his friends in his dads car one afternoon when a girl on a bike swerved in front of his car. He couldn't stop the car in time and hit her. She is rushed to the hospital where she later dies. The girl, Celine, that he hits and kills is a junior at the same high school Darin attends. When he goes back to school after the accident he is given dirty looks by classmates and is the talk of the school. He has to deal with the whole school pointing fingers at him for the death of Celine. Besides being shunned by most of the school, Celine's family is not too fond of him. Celine's parents bring Darin to court for a civil law case. Although he's innocent because it was an honest accident, he is still looked at differently by his peers and will always have this haunt him throughout his life. This book takes place on Long Island, which made me all the more interested in it. It's obvious that this is still a big part of Darin's life all these years later. Even though at the end of the book he's an adult and married, he still thinks about the accident. In this book Darin is pretty honest about his feelings towards the accident. At first he admits that he didn't really feel sad he just couldn't process what had happened. You can tell later on in the book that his emotions towards the situation change because he's more mature and he has had time to reflect on that day.


Although this book was interesting because it was a memoir, I found it repetitive and slow at parts. It was sad and I felt bad for Darin throughout the story. Overall it was a good book because it shows how quickly your whole life can be altered in the matter of seconds. It also shows what Darin had to go through after the accident. It could help other people in similar situations cope with it.