Half the house: A Memoir

Half the House cover with baseball glove behind chain link fence
Half the House: A Memoir

by Richard Hoffman

The headlines that followed the publication of this unflinching memoir provide stunning testimony of its power to move readers to empathy, outrage, and action: “Poet’s memoirs lead to arrest of alleged child molester,” “Author’s writing on abuse brings new victims forward.” Even before these events, however, the book had won the acclaim of critics such as Jonathan Yardley of the Washington Post Book World who wrote, “Half the House offers heartening evidence, to borrow William Faulkner’s phrase, of the human capacity to endure and prevail.”

Against the back-drop of post-war, blue-collar America, Half the House tells a story both intensely personal and universal. Depicting his family’s struggles to care for two of his brothers who are terminally ill, Hoffman also recounts the horrific abuse he suffered in secret at the age of ten by his baseball coach. In a memoir Time magazine called “spare and poignant,” the author explores the ways in which grief and rage become a tangled silence that estranges those who need each other’s love the most, and demonstrates the healing power of truth-telling in both the personal and public spheres.