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Half a Life: A Memoir

by

Half a Life: A Memoir Cover

ISBN13: 9780812982534
ISBN10: 0812982533
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

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Awards

Staff Pick

Darin Strauss dissects the one event that forever demarcates his life: as a teenager, he kills a schoolmate after hitting her with his car.  To his credit, Strauss never once plays the pity card; instead he seems to question his every emotion and thought for signs of weakness.  As he grows into adulthood, he shares his story with others and sits unflinchingly while they either excoriate or coddle him.  No, this memoir is not for the faint of heart — demanding introspection and exhaustive emotional digging are the hallmarks of his life.  Half a Life not only describes Strauss's life but also his schoolmate's life, and he mines this reality for all its subtle and explicit meaning.  Kudos to Strauss for his strength in not only living this particular nightmare but for sharing it, as well.
Recommended by Dianah, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Half my life ago, I killed a girl.

In this powerful, unforgettable memoir, acclaimed novelist Darin Strauss recounts a tragedy and its aftermath. In his last month of high school, just after turning eighteen, Strauss is behind the wheel of his father's Oldsmobile, driving with friends — having "thoughts of mini-golf, another thought of maybe just going to the beach."

Then out of the blue: a collision that results in the death of a bicycling classmate that shadows the rest of his life. In spare and piercing prose, Darin Strauss explores loss and guilt, maturity and accountability, hope and acceptance — and the result is a staggering, uplifting tour de force.

Review:

"Elegant, painful, stunningly honest....huge [and] heartbreaking." The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Darin Strauss has spent a good part of his adult life reliving, regretting and reflecting on a single, split-second incident. Half a Life is a starkly honest account of that fateful moment and his life thereafter....penetrating, thought-provoking." The Washington Post

Review:

"A book that inspires admiration, sentence by sentence....This is a memoir in its finest form, a fully imagined and bittersweet book that transcends a single misstep." Chicago Tribune

Review:

"Painfully raw and beautifully written." Los Angeles Times

Review:

“A remarkable, beyond-brave memoir.” O: The Oprah Magazine

Review:

"Lyrical and haunting." San Francisco Chronicle

Synopsis:

Acclaimed writer Benjamin Anastass searing, utterly moving memoir of fathers and sons, crushing debt and infidelity, and the first, cautious steps taken towards piecing a life back together.

Synopsis:

When he was three, in the early 1970s, Benjamin Anastas found himself in his mothers fringe-therapy group in Massachusetts, a sign around his neck: Too Good to Be True. The phrase haunted him through his life, even as he found the literary acclaim he sought after his 1999 novel, An Underachievers Diary, had made the smart set take notice. Too Good to Be True is his deeply moving memoir of fathers and sons, crushing debt and infidelity—and the first, cautious steps taken toward piecing a life back together.

 

“It took a long time for me to admit I had failed,” Anastas begins. Broke, his promising literary career evaporated, hes hounded by debt collectors as he tries to repair a life ripped apart by the spectacular implosion of his marriage, which ended when his pregnant wife left him for another man. Had it all been too good to be true? Anastass fierce love for his young son forces him to confront his own childhood, fraught with mental illness and divorce. His fathers disdain for money might have been in line with the 70s zeitgeist—but what does it mean when youre dumping change into a Coinstar machine, trying to scrounge enough to buy your son a meal? Charged with rage and despair, humor and hope, this unforgettable book is about losing ones way and finding it again, and the redemptive power of art.

About the Author

Darin Strauss is the bestselling author of three previous books. The recipient of a Guggenheim in fiction writing and numerous other awards, Strauss has seen his work translated into fourteen languages and published in more than twenty countries. He is a Clinical Associate Professor of Writing at New York University, and he lives with his wife and children in Brooklyn.

Table of Contents

At the Church Door 1

Going Broke 5

The Real Life of an Author 19

Coinstar 49

Divorce Counseling 63

A Disturbance of Memory at the Brooklyn Flea 73

Too Good to Be True 83

One Beehive in Nicaragua 105

At the Wheel of the Haunted Sedan 125

Not This Guy 143

Unpaid Bills 153

Old Friends 157

The Tower Where I Work 167

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

haileysnana, January 2, 2012 (view all comments by haileysnana)
Hands down, the best book I've read in years. Poignant and brutally honest. Beautifully written.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Nancy L, June 5, 2011 (view all comments by Nancy L)
Darin Strauss feels guilty, although he did nothing wrong. He also grieves for nearly two decades, although he didn't really know the girl who died. In "Half A Life", Strauss describes his experience after driving a car that collided with a bicyclist, who also attended his high school, and who did not survive the crash. It is a compelling read. Strauss' writes using matter-of-fact language, yet his descriptions of his feelings and the effect the accident had on his life are poignant and thought-provoking.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780812982534
Author:
Strauss, Darin
Publisher:
Random House Trade
Author:
Anastas, Benjamin
Subject:
Biography - General
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20110531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 0.69 lb

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Related Subjects


Biography » General
Biography » Literary
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Half a Life: A Memoir Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.95 In Stock
Product details 224 pages Random House Trade Paperbacks - English 9780812982534 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Darin Strauss dissects the one event that forever demarcates his life: as a teenager, he kills a schoolmate after hitting her with his car.  To his credit, Strauss never once plays the pity card; instead he seems to question his every emotion and thought for signs of weakness.  As he grows into adulthood, he shares his story with others and sits unflinchingly while they either excoriate or coddle him.  No, this memoir is not for the faint of heart — demanding introspection and exhaustive emotional digging are the hallmarks of his life.  Half a Life not only describes Strauss's life but also his schoolmate's life, and he mines this reality for all its subtle and explicit meaning.  Kudos to Strauss for his strength in not only living this particular nightmare but for sharing it, as well.

"Review" by , "Elegant, painful, stunningly honest....huge [and] heartbreaking."
"Review" by , "Darin Strauss has spent a good part of his adult life reliving, regretting and reflecting on a single, split-second incident. Half a Life is a starkly honest account of that fateful moment and his life thereafter....penetrating, thought-provoking."
"Review" by , "A book that inspires admiration, sentence by sentence....This is a memoir in its finest form, a fully imagined and bittersweet book that transcends a single misstep."
"Review" by , "Painfully raw and beautifully written."
"Review" by , “A remarkable, beyond-brave memoir.”
"Review" by , "Lyrical and haunting."
"Synopsis" by , Acclaimed writer Benjamin Anastass searing, utterly moving memoir of fathers and sons, crushing debt and infidelity, and the first, cautious steps taken towards piecing a life back together.
"Synopsis" by , When he was three, in the early 1970s, Benjamin Anastas found himself in his mothers fringe-therapy group in Massachusetts, a sign around his neck: Too Good to Be True. The phrase haunted him through his life, even as he found the literary acclaim he sought after his 1999 novel, An Underachievers Diary, had made the smart set take notice. Too Good to Be True is his deeply moving memoir of fathers and sons, crushing debt and infidelity—and the first, cautious steps taken toward piecing a life back together.

 

“It took a long time for me to admit I had failed,” Anastas begins. Broke, his promising literary career evaporated, hes hounded by debt collectors as he tries to repair a life ripped apart by the spectacular implosion of his marriage, which ended when his pregnant wife left him for another man. Had it all been too good to be true? Anastass fierce love for his young son forces him to confront his own childhood, fraught with mental illness and divorce. His fathers disdain for money might have been in line with the 70s zeitgeist—but what does it mean when youre dumping change into a Coinstar machine, trying to scrounge enough to buy your son a meal? Charged with rage and despair, humor and hope, this unforgettable book is about losing ones way and finding it again, and the redemptive power of art.

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