Catherine'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
Jan 06, 2011

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bookshelves: biography-and-memoir
Read from January 06 to 09, 2011

I probably would have liked this more if it were the first book of the genre I had read. It’s one of those “raised in horrible conditions but rose above it” memoirs like The Glass Castle and The Liar’s Club. The book jacket describes Liz Murray’s parents as “loving but drug-addicted.” I had some trouble buying the “loving” part. Definitely a fascinating story with an amazing and admirable author, but the narrative of her early years was excessively detailed at time – except for her relationship with her sister, Lisa, which was to me the most interesting dynamic.

Liz’s decision to turn her life around, which came about three-fourths of the way through the book, was casually chalked up to her realization that “friends don’t pay your rent.” The remainder of the book was compelling and inspiring: Liz’s quest to stay motivated to finish high school, learning to integrate into society, the realization that she could go to college and make the most of her life. I think that for the author the point of the book was the cathartic recounting of the horror of her childhood, but as a reader I wanted to hear more about the strength within her that inspired her escape from it.
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