Alicia'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
Sep 03, 2011

really liked it
Read in September, 2011

I think the best part of this book was how the author assumes the intelligence of the reader. She doesn't have to say "and by that one experience, I realized that sometimes the people that you are told will help you, actually do more harm than the things they are trying to prevent". She just tells her story and lets you make your own explanations or reasoning.

And that is what her main idea is: Whatever happens to us, we have to decipher it for ourselves and use it to the best of our ability. Don't let someone else tell you what something means, you decide yourself what it means for you and your life.

I liked how the author also took responsibility for her actions. She had a great way of calling herself out. She would say, "you know, if I had just gone to school when I was 14, the state never would've taken me away". I mean, she could've said something like "I should've gone to school, but it was just too hard! And the state didn't care to investigate why I wasn't going to school. I was treated badly!" But she doesn't have that attitude at all. She is very self aware of her part in all of her decisions.

Finally, I liked how naive she was about huge things in her life. Like how she had no idea how big the New York Times was, and as such she didn't prepare a big presentation for them when she went in for a scholarship interview. That theme of naivete seems to run through her story, but again, she takes responsibility for it so it doesn't become whiny or a lament saying "poor me!". She just accepts that she didn't know these things before and this is how she reacted in a new situation.

This is a good book, but if you get squeamish about drugs and the people that do them, you might now like this book.
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