Half A Life

By: Darin Strauss

In this powerful memoir, Darin Strauss allows readers to enter his mind as he recollects the memories of a tragic accident from his youth.

Darin Strauss, a senior at North Shore High School, was driving his oldsmbile with his friends to play mini golf when suddenly a young girl from his school swerved her bike into the road infront of his car. As sixteen year old Celine Zilke lay still in the grass, Darin and his friends look on in shock at the life they just taken.As ambulances and police cars show up at the scene, Darin is told that there was no way of stopping the accident from happening nor was it his fault. This book shows us the remorse, guilt, and deep emotions that Darin Strauss felt.

Character Analysis

Darin Strauss, 18, is under more stress than anyone should be at his age. Because of witnesses at the scene of the accident the court ruled Darin not guilty of vehicular manslaughter, but in his mind he's got thousands of thoughts running through his head that it was his fault he killed an innocent girl. As Darin goes back to his youth he shows readers how remorseful and how hard he took this unsettling and tragic accident. While you read, you feel like you are Darin and feel like you are living inside his head as you go through the endless nights of guilt, regret, and PTSD. You feel the embarrassment and bravery he has as he attends the wake and funeral of the girl he killed. When he graduates and starts dating in college he feels obligated to tell them about the accident.He thought about Celine constantly at times ordinary and important. "Celine will never experience this" is what he thought during his wedding. Everything Darin goes through, the reader goes through as well.

" What I do remember is self-centered---my own turning from the casket. I'm hurrying past all the stares in this neat and unreal spectacle."

"Some years ago researchers at George Washington University studied the psychological effect on what the police call 'dart-out' deaths and what insurers call 'no-fault-fatality': car crashes, like Celine's and mine, where someone hurries into an automobile. In the United States, some two thousand drivers a year survive 'dart-outs'. And these drivers are more likely to get laid out by post-traumatic stress syndrome than are those who are irrefutably to blame in fatal accidents." -Darin Strauss pg 115


The setting of this memoir takes place in 1988 on the North Shore of Long Island in a town called Glen Head.
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One of the many themes of this story is "moving on but never forget". As Darin ages and tries to move on (going to college, getting married, having kids), he always has in the back of his mind what Celine's mother had told him at the funeral. "What ever you do in your life you have to do it twice as well now. Because you are living it for two people."

My Opinion

Personally I did not enjoy this book, it just drags on about the horrible memory of the accident, and that made it boring.
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