Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 28: REVIEW - Half a Life by Darin Strauss

Date:                         3/25/11
Title:                         Half a Life: A Memoir
Author:                     Darin Strauss
ISBN 10:                  
ISBN 13:                   978-0-8129-8253-4
Pages:                      193
Publisher:                Random House Trade Paperback
Cover:                      Paperback/ARC
Reviewer:                Yolanda M. Johnson-Bryant– Literary Wonders!  
Rating:                     3 Stars

Half A Life is the memoir of Darin Strauss. During his senior year of high school, like a typical teenager, Darin had plans to hang out with his friends. On that day, with his friends in the car, as they drove to play put-put golf, Darin's life is changed forever.

In a flash, at forty miles and hour, Darin hits Celine Zilke with his Oldsmobile as she and her friend rode their bikes alongside a four lane road. Sixteen year old Celine later died at the hospital.

Mr. Strauss takes his readers along with him on his real-life journey. This book is about grief and how people deal with it differently. Celine's parents said with their mouths that they didn't blame Darin for the accident, after all, she did swerve over two lanes of traffic causing the accident—but in their hearts, they blamed Darin and wanted him to pay; someone to pay.

Darin shows us in situations as devastating as this, everyone involved suffers and has to find a way to cope with the reality of their circumstances. Not only did Celine's parents suffer, but Darin's personal guilt lasted for years. He constantly questioned if he could have done something to prevent the accident.

Darin would go through years of counseling, a civil trial, secrets in Celine's diary and a family of his own, before he is finally released of the guilt of having killed someone and wondering why he was the one that was alive.  It wasn't until his thirties that this author found peace in his life.

I think this book will help many. I happen to know someone personally, who was in Darin's shoes, and I question whether that person has dealt with their guilt and found peace. I will certainly recommend this book in hopes that it will start the healing process. Thank you, Mr. Strauss, for this touching memoir.

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