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Halfway Heaven: Diary of a Harvard Murder

Halfway Heaven: Diary of a Harvard Murder

by Melanie Thernstrom


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In May, 1995, a photograph and an anonymous note arrived at The Harvard Crimson: "Keep this picture. There will soon be a very juicy story involving this woman." Soon afterwards, Sinedu Tadesse stabbed her roommate, Trang Phuong Ho, to death, and then hanged herself.

This riveting book recounts the stories of these women, whose admission to Harvard was "halfway heaven," a bridge to the American dream after lives of hardship. Sinedu grew up under communist tyranny in Ethiopia, while Trang was born in a Vietnamese forced labor camp, and fled the country with her father and sister to end up on welfare in Boston. Despite their similarities, the two were never friends; Trang was friendly and outgoing, while Sinedu, awkward and shy, had trouble adjusting to a culture vastly different from her own. Drawing upon her astonishing diaries, New York Times bestselling author Thernstrom, a Harvard graduate herself, reconstructs Sinedu's inner life to reveal a girl struggling against isolation and depression. The book reveals Harvard as an institution ill-equipped to deal with mental illness on campus that apparently cared more for its reputation than for its student body.

A brilliant synthesis of cultural analysis, psychological study, and first-rate investigative journalism, Halfway Heaven is a haunting exploration of the power of profound loneliness and an expose of one of America's most distinguished universities.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780452280076
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/01/1998
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.64(d)

About the Author

Melanie Thernstrom is a journalist and creative writing teacher, and the critically acclaimed author of The Dead Girl and Halfway Heaven. A native of Boston, she graduated from Harvard University.

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