By John Botto
Half a Life | By Darin Strauss
The novel Half a Life is a memoir by Darin Strauss. It is about 18-year old Darin Strauss and the struggles he had to face in his lifetime after killing 16-year old Celine Zilkes. Zilkes's death however was completely accidental. It happened one night when Strauss and a bunch of friends were on there way to play mini golf. Zilkes not looking veered her bike into traffic and was struck and killed by Strauss's car. Strauss talks about how his life was permanently altered forever on that day. He was known as "the kid who killed a girl" and was often shunned for what had happened, by most kids, in the last month of high school he had before he graduated. Strauss thought the mourning and guilt would eventually fade away after high school, but it never did. Throughout his life up until his thirties when he got married Strauss was never able to make perspective of what happened. Not until half a life later.
Conflict and Diction
The main literary element in this memoir is conflict. The conflict in the memoir is a man vs self type conflict. Strauss has a hard time throughout the memoir forgiving himself of what he had done. He writes about how time after the accident was extremely gloomy and uneasy leaving him to often feel alone. The diction Strauss uses in the memoir allows for the reader to become engaged in the story. The diction he uses allows for his emotions to poke through the writing. For example the first words he uses in the memoir is "Half my life ago, I killed a girl". This short vulgar and dark statement allows the reader to feel the pain the man had gone through.
Darin Strauss has had a terrible youth growing up having killed a girl two years younger than him. It isn't until the age of 36 that he has been able to put what had happened into perspective and tell the story. He was emotionally destroyed by it and lets the reader know through the dictions he choses
This memoir is very well written, allowing the reader to almost feel what the author has had to go through in his life. Everyday in our country someone is killed by an automobile. The people driving the automobile is then forced to live with what had happened forever. T It is a good book for all ages over 16. Although being an extremely sad novel, it is a good read that allows for people to experience what people that go through these types of accidents feel daily.