RNOCEAN's Reviews > Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard

Breaking Night by Liz Murray
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's review
Nov 01, 2010

really liked it
Read in November, 2010

*BREAKING NIGHT: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey From Homeless To Harvard" by Liz Murray

From runaway to Harvard student, Murray tells an engaging, powerfully motivational story about turning her life around after growing up the neglected child of drug addicts. When Murray was born in 1980, her former beatnik father was in jail for illegally trafficking in prescription painkillers, and her mother, a cokehead since age 13, had just barely missed losing custody of their year-old daughter, Lisa. Murray and her sister grew up in a Bronx apartment that gradually went to seed, living off government programs and whatever was left after the parents indulged their drug binges; Murray writes that drugs were the "wrecking ball" that destroyed her family-- prompting her mother's frequent institutionalization for drug-induced mental illness and leading to her parents inviting in sexual molesters. By age 15, with the help of her best friend Sam and an elusive hustler, Carlos, she took permanently to the streets, relying on friends, sadly, for shelter. With the death of her mother, her runaway world came to an end, and she began her step-by-step plan to attend an alternative high school, which eventually led to a New York Times scholarship and acceptance to Harvard. In this incredible story of true grit, Murray went from feeling like "the world was filled with people who were repulsed by me" to learning to receive the bountiful generosity of strangers who truly cared.

****Rate this a 4/5. While I appreciate the hardships and trials this young lady went through, I thought that her lengthy description of how she and her 'street' friends lived and partied could have been a bit less informative. It wasn't overtly sexual or descriptive of drug use, but more about what a friend's hairstyle, etc., was. This book is raw and descriptive in how Liz and her family lived from day to day. Her parents were not able to overcome their addictions or their lifestyles in order to raise their daughters, but the book does establish their l0ve for one another

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