Halfway Heaven: Diary of a Harvard Murder

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Doubleday, 1997 - True Crime - 219 pages
11 Reviews
A few days before the end of spring term, an anonymous note arrived at "The Harvard Crimson. It contained a photograph of a student and a typed message: "Keep this picture. There will soon be a very juicy story involving this woman." Now, the critically acclaimed author of "The Dead Girl reveals the never-before-told story of two girls--one from Ethiopia, the other from Vietnam--for whom admission to Harvard was like "halfway heaven," the stepping stone to the American Dream that would ensure success for them and their families; and how they met instead with the darkest of all fates: a tragedy that might have been prevented.
Based on Melanie Thernstrom's article in "The New Yorker, here is the complete story of an unfathomable murder/suicide that shocked the country--and a groundbreaking exposU of one of America's most distinguished universities. Drawing on the astonishing diaries kept by the murderer, Thernstrom reconstructs the inner life of a deeply troubled girl, struggling against isolation and depression, uncannily self-aware, and desperate for help. Sifting through layers of responsibility and silence, Thernstrom has pieced together a story that points back to Harvard and its calculated efforts to whitewash the story, and to protect and promote its distinguished reputation at the cost of its own student body.
A work of dazzling investigative journalism and literary pathos, "Halfway Heaven raises profound questions about the nature of attachment, obsession, female friendship, and the power of loneliness to transform love into destruction.

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Review: Halfway Heaven: Diary of a Harvard Murder

User Review  - Lynda - Goodreads

The book by Melanie Thernstrom details the 1994 murder-suicide between two Harvard students Sinedu and Trang: one of Ethiopian descent and the other from Vietnam. They were high achieving students ... Read full review

Review: Halfway Heaven: Diary of a Harvard Murder

User Review  - Cari - Goodreads

I thot it was an interesting read. it is outrageous that Harvard did more work to cover it up than help is students. so much for compassion. it's ridiculous that the people who needed the help most ... Read full review

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About the author (1997)

Melanie Thernstrom is the author of The Dead Girl.  A native of Boston, she graduated from Harvard University in 1987, and has taught writing at Cornell, Harvard, and Boston University.  Her journalism has appeared in The New Yorker.  She lives in New York City.

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