Darin Strauss’s moving memoir, Half a Life ,is painfully honest and inherently dramatic without seeming either precious or self-pitying. When the car he was driving hit and killed Celine, a high school classmate whom he knew only casually, Strauss’s life was, as one might suspect, altered forever. Although he was held to be blameless in Celine’s death (what insurance companies refer to as “a no fault fatality”), Strauss found that this event—which occurred nearly 20 years ago—has now shaped almost half his life. In prose that is introspective, evocative, and unaffected, Strauss shares with us his musings on life, death, blame, and self-doubt. I wondered, as I read it, how I would have lived the rest of my life after the parent of someone for whose death I was, however innocently, responsible, says this to you:
I know it was not your fault, Darin. They all tell me it was not your fault . . . But I want you to remember something. Whatever you do in your life, you have to do it twice as well now . . . Because you are living it for two people . . . Can you promise me? Promise.
So how do you live your life after that?