Half a Life by Darin Strauss

A memoir written by a usually fiction writer whose car killed a bicyclist in his last year of high school.

I don’t usually choose to read memoirs or biographies unless I know enough about the person to be a fan, but this book was on the Literary Disco list, so I read it even if it took months.

I was not very invested in the book, the story, the character. It was very real and well written, but I didn’t feel emotionally invested. I don’t know if it was because maybe I wasn’t in a reading mood while reading this book, but it was a book I had to trek through.

I found it repetitive because he kept telling me, using different words, how he was trying to feel sad, trying to live for two because of the girl’s parents. He held onto the incident because he felt guilty for being able to let it go, to not think about it.

It is a heartbreaking and heart warming story, but it was not a book I could not put down. It was easily forgettable. I can’t tell you if it was the book itself or if it was just the timing of whatever was happening in real life. But I believe if a book reaches me, it wouldn’t matter what was happening around me; the book would stick, and I would keep reading.

After having listened to Literary Disco‘s review on this book, I feel much better knowing that Rider Strong feels the same way I do about the over self-reflection of this book.

Julie pointed out an interesting part of the book; Strauss’s honesty of his lack of details of the memory. You’d think a writer would fudge something just so the story could be tied up in a neat little bow, but he doesn’t do that. This led into an interesting discussion, too, about the way we perceive memories and how it’s changed since we started using social media for almost everything.

In Half a Life Darin Strauss struggled to remember the incident. He remembered bits and pieces. He remembered talking to police but not his words. He thought maybe he might have said a certain thing, but he couldn’t know for sure. Julie from Literary Disco said something along the lines of, in our day and age, somebody might have just posted the accident on Facebook. Maybe someone would have Instagramed the accident scene. There’s a lot to say about social media and technology today, but I won’t get into it. This is about the book, and what I wrote is what I thought of it.

An update on my reading. I am still working on Game of Thrones, and I will be continuing to read that. And all while reading that and Half a Life, I immersed myself in another non-fiction, “Soldier Dogs.”

My intention was not to pick up another book until I was done with both Soldier Dogs and Game of Thrones, but I have failed in resisting books. I went to the public library to turn in my days of reading for the Summer Reading Program just to pick up some goodies, but I strolled through the place, just browsing. I walked a few rounds and did not feel right just leaving empty handed. I walked through the new fiction section, and two books popped out at one. Well, one was face forward on display, and some subconscious memory of mine said I’ve been meaning to read it, and I should pick it up right there before I lose my chance to. I must have seen it before and resisted to spend money on it.

Another one was entitled, “Canary.” That caught my eye because I had finished Arrow, the CW series not too long ago. Of course, I realize it’s unrelated, but the book still had my attention. I read the summary, and that legitimately took me in, so I went ahead and grabbed it and checked out.

Now my challenge is to finish both of these books in two weeks before their due date while also keeping up with Game of Thrones. Dog Soldiers isn’t a huge priority since it’s not a chronological story I need to remember, so I can come and go to that one.

So who knows what my next review will be, but until next time.

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