It depends of the emotions you are trying to evoke when the character explains his past. Do you want the others to pity him, to admire him? Is he proud or ashamed of himself? The style and techniques used can vary depending on that.
Phraseology and sentence length come into this. For example:
If I say something. Something short. But meaningful. It may have a bigger impact on the reader.
And if I suddenly and without warning assault him with longer, more complex sentences not only will I grab his attention but also create dynamism for my scene.
Normally, we don't use one one or the other, but combine them in various ways for maximum effect and to convey the right feeling to the reader.
For your scene, I'd say it would be better to use mostly short sentences, to emphasize on the dramatic (which I think is what you're aiming at) and to create suspense. And, at the right moments in the story, switch to long sentences to change the rhythm (as to not bore your audience with monotony) and create an impression.
Also go low on the words, don't overuse metaphors or hyperboles, but rather hold them for important moments in your narrative to create an impression.
It's a difficult technique to master. I, for one, am very mediocre at it. However, if you get good at it, you'll be able to create a larger palette of scenes, convey more emotions and grab the reader's interest more often.
So, to get to the point, instead of bombarding your reader with hyperboles to evoke emotions on his side, use this technique to create suspense or excitement or whatever you're aiming for, and keep hyperboles and other figures of speech for key moments.