Halfway Heaven: Diary of a Harvard Murder

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Doubleday, 1997 - True Crime - 219 pages
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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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User Review  - ennie - LibraryThing

Harvard isn't paradise for everyone (they rejected me as an undergrad so I can't speak to that, but I did go there for grad school which was "eh"). This is the sad story of a troubled student from ... Read full review

HALFWAY HEAVEN: Diary of a Harvard Murder

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Part mystery, part exposÇ, Thernstrom's gripping account of a murder/suicide at Harvard (which she reported on for the New Yorker) combines fascinating case material with great seriousness of purpose ... 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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