Breaking Night Liz Murray by Liz Murray
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In the vein of The Glass Castle, Breaking Night is the stunning memoir of a young woman who at age fifteen was living on the streets, and who eventually made it into Harvard. Liz Murray was born to loving but drug-addicted parents in the Bronx. In school she was taunted for her dirty clothing and lice-infested hair, eventually skipping so many classes that she was put into a girls’ home. At age fifteen, Liz found herself on the streets when her family finally unraveled. She learned to scrape by, foraging for food and riding subways all night to have a warm place to sleep. When Liz’s mother died of AIDS, she decided to take control of her own destiny and go back to high school, often completing her assignments in the hallways and subway stations where she slept. Liz squeezed four years of high school into two, while homeless; won a New York Timesscholarship; and made it into the Ivy League. Breaking Night is an unforgettable and beautifully written story of one young woman’s indomitable spirit to survive and prevail, against all odds.
Reviews Wow. What a powerful book. I so appreciate Liz Murray writing this deeply personal, intimate book of a childhood full of struggles, neglect, and abuse. Yet she found love there and in the midst of her raw hurt, she was able to rise above her circumstances and be a productive, successful member of society. An incredible story. This book did for me what I longed for "The Glass Castle" to do - show the link between the awful childhood and the successful adult. She took the reader step by step through the process of her decisions that led from homelessness to Harvard. I can't tell you how many times I was reading this book and thought, "There is no way this girl ends up in Harvard." And yet she did. And we are privy to understanding at least a little bit of the how and why of that all. Liz doesn't hold back details (or I can't imagine that there were any she held back). She gives all kinds of details about the unbelievably dysfunctional family she was raised in - she starts from the very beginning and takes the reader through it all. (And I love that it was all in chronological order!). We are horrified, touched, saddened, and eventually encouraged by her bravery and success. I am so thankful she wrote this book. She is an inspiration to anyone who works with hurting children - and probably to anyone who had a less-thandesirable childhood themselves.
This is truly an amazing and inspirational story. One that I will never forget. Liz's story proves that we are in control of our own lives and our destiny. Her story is definitely heartwrenching as she tells us of her life growing up in a rat infested, filthy NY apartment with her older sister and her drug addicted mentally ill parents. Her parents, who blew through their welfare check each month on drugs and liquor leaving her and her older sister with nothing. I was amazed how she always loved them regardless of their neglect, illnesses and addictions. I was swept away of how strong of a survivor she was, continually overcoming never ending hardships and struggles. As a young teenager, she was homeless, sleeping in stairwells, on the subway, under bridges, or crashing at friends
houses once their parents left for the day. Liz was committed to turn her life around and how she belived she could. She is an incredible person and you will constantly be blown away by her strength, maturity and understanding.
The theme of this book is never accepting failure and there is always time to succeed. In Breaking Night, Murray faces a lot issues with her mother dead and being homeless. But she doesn't accept giving up on life. Murray tries her best to retry high school and manages to be so successful, she gets into Harvard college. -Liz's parents are unique characters that you feel bad for. They are not fit for taking care of children, yet they love their two daughters. They are abused to drugs and are sick, but do not want their children to get into the same thing. They seem like the reason Liz had such a horrid past, but in reality, they just weren't lucky. The mother gets AIDS and the father gets kicked out of the home leaving Liz with no parent to look up to. -I would give the book 5/5 stars. I think it is a truly amazing accomplishment for a person who was homeless and had no real education, to go against the odds and lead a path to success. It has inspired me to never let a bad grade or criticism bring me down. If I fall down, like Murray, I'll just fight my way back up.
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