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Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard

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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 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, when her family finally unraveled, Murray found herself on the streets. She learned to scrape by, foraging for food and riding subways all night to have a warm place to sleep. Eventually, Murray 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. She squeezed four years of high school into two, while homeless; won a New York Times scholarship; 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.


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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 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, when her family finally unraveled, Murray found herself on the streets. She learned to scrape by, foraging for food and riding subways all night to have a warm place to sleep. Eventually, Murray 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. She squeezed four years of high school into two, while homeless; won a New York Times scholarship; 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.

30 review for Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard

  1. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    ***ALL SPOILERS HIDDEN*** The summary here and on its dust jacket describes Breaking Night as “in the vein of The Glass Castle.” For those considering reading Breaking Night because of this comparison, know that in a few ways it is apt. Both memoirs are shocking rags-to-riches tales about women who grew up destitute with physically neglectful but kind parents. Both women worked very hard to overcome great odds. Both stories are captivating page-turners. Although it’s common for publishers to ***ALL SPOILERS HIDDEN*** The summary here and on its dust jacket describes Breaking Night as “in the vein of The Glass Castle.” For those considering reading Breaking Night because of this comparison, know that in a few ways it is apt. Both memoirs are shocking rags-to-riches tales about women who grew up destitute with physically neglectful but kind parents. Both women worked very hard to overcome great odds. Both stories are captivating page-turners. Although it’s common for publishers to compare books, and they many times miss the mark, fans of The Glass Castle probably really will enjoy Breaking Night. Liz Murray started from the very beginning, detailing an interesting history of her troubled parents from before she was born. She then dedicated a significant portion of her story to descriptions of their numerous drug exploits. Breaking Night is, in a way, a semi-portrait of drug addiction. Further into the memoir, Murray showed well how her mother, Jean, is owned by drugs but how Jean fiercely wishes she weren’t, how she’s aware that drugs have robbed her of everything, all the potential she ever had to be her best self. What Murray didn’t do as well, and one reason this memoir isn’t as resonant as it could be, is show why readers should sympathize with her parents to the extent that she does. Absent are depictions of significant mother-daughter and father-daughter bonding moments--moments that would make Murray’s fierce loyalty, deep love, and resistance to seek help understandable. It’s clear these parents are kind; they speak gently to their daughters at all times, for example, and never lay an angry hand on them; however, they’re distant, being as they are utterly neglectful and lost in a drug-induced high the majority of the time. Murray did try; she did depict a few loving times--an instance of her and her mother sitting together blowing dandelions stands out--but it doesn’t suffice. Her ability to forgive her parents so fully is simply remarkable, especially considering the years of atrocious physical neglect, punctuated by aching starvation, a starvation so severe that she and her sister were once driven to split a “tube of toothpaste and a cherry ChapStick.” She seems to expect the same forgiveness from her readers. Unfortunately, her parents are, more than anything, so consumed by addiction that it’s nearly impossible to view them as anything but addicts. The whole time one only wishes desperately that Murray and her sister would be rescued from their living hell. Murray’s writing is straightforward and capable, and her story certainly is engrossing. To say she endured a lot would be an understatement, and she spared no details in describing the variety of circumstances she found herself in. She made her choices--often irresponsible and selfish ones that made absolute sense given her tumultuous upbringing. Her story is a dramatic and exhausting one during her growing years; an awful lot happened in so little time--new people entered and faded out; situations improved a little, worsened, improved again--and this memoir moves along smoothly from one major scene to the next. Breaking Night’s narrative does suffer from some imbalance. Almost the entire memoir is about the “rags” part of Murray's story: her miserable childhood and scene after scene of her parents’ drug-addicted days and nights. She gave blow-by-blow accounts of how these went down. This is also the time when she and her sister struggled every day to keep their stomachs full, another part of the story she dedicated a lot of attention to. Only a small portion, in comparison, is about the “riches” part (view spoiler)[and disappointingly, she said not a word about her life as a Harvard student; strangely, she didn't even describe the moment she received the acceptance letter. Given the book’s subtitle, her decision to leave out descriptions of life at college feels like a bait-and-switch. (hide spoiler)] Breaking Night’s subtitle is A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey From Homeless to Harvard. It really is all these things. This details a true journey. Murray survived, and ultimately, she forgave. The epilogue in particular is one of the most moving chapters in the entire book. Breaking Night closes beautifully and is most definitely inspiring, on several levels. Final verdict: A good choice for fans of against-all-odds memoirs. Read it alongside The Glass Castle and Angela's Ashes.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tania

    This is such a sad, yet hopeful, story. Imagine growing up with two addicts for parents, never knowing when you'll get food again, having your mom stealing your birthday money for a hit and always worrying that something will happen to them when they're out scoring drugs. And Liz was lucky, she at least had parents who loved her. There were so many things in Breaking Night that got to me. When she was little she tried to do whatever would make them happy. She was the perfect daughter, even This is such a sad, yet hopeful, story. Imagine growing up with two addicts for parents, never knowing when you'll get food again, having your mom stealing your birthday money for a hit and always worrying that something will happen to them when they're out scoring drugs. And Liz was lucky, she at least had parents who loved her. There were so many things in Breaking Night that got to me. When she was little she tried to do whatever would make them happy. She was the perfect daughter, even supporting their drug habit. Realizing how different you are (almost starving, getting no sleep, not being able to bath for more than two months) and being ostracized in school because of this. Being homeless at the age of 13, while your mom is dying of AIDS. Unlike Glass Castle, this is not a funny, humorous read, but the author is amazing in that she never judges, she just tells it like it was. I am amazed that she could get me to sympathize with her parents, especially her mom. This is an amazing memoir, and made me count my blessings. It also shows that anything is possible if you want it enough. I take my hat of to Liz and her sister Lisa. The story: Liz Murray never really had a chance in life. Born to a drug-addicted father who was in and out of prison, and an equally dependent mother who was in and out of mental institutions, she seemed destined to become just another tragic statistic. By the age of 15, Liz found herself homeless with nowhere to turn but the tough streets, riding subways all night for a warm place to sleep and foraging through dumpsters for food. But when her mother died of AIDS a year later, Liz's life changed for ever. With no education, with no chance at a job or a home, she realised that only the most astonishing of turnarounds could stop her heading all the way down the same path her parents took. And so she set her mind to overcoming what seemed like impossible odds - and in the process, achieved something extraordinary.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    I'm of two minds concerning this book. On the one hand, I found it to be a compelling and inspirational memoir of a woman who succeeded in life, against all odds. But on the other hand, the over abundance of minute details in the beginning, which worked to engage me at first, also left me numb from the bombardment. And the glossing over of details later on, when she was a teenager and homeless, brought me some much needed relief, but also left me feeling distanced from Liz, her story losing I'm of two minds concerning this book. On the one hand, I found it to be a compelling and inspirational memoir of a woman who succeeded in life, against all odds. But on the other hand, the over abundance of minute details in the beginning, which worked to engage me at first, also left me numb from the bombardment. And the glossing over of details later on, when she was a teenager and homeless, brought me some much needed relief, but also left me feeling distanced from Liz, her story losing ground because of it. So everything evened out for me, making this a three star book. This is the true story of Liz Murray who, along with her older sister, Lisa, was raised by drug addicted parents who loved them, but were unable to care for them properly, to say the least. The first part of the book details all that Liz went through as a child when having to grow up way too fast and essentially give up her childhood when looking out for parents who should have been looking out for her. Liz takes the reader on a day by day account of deprivation and neglect that was unbelievable, though the narrative far from damns her parents for it. Anyone interested in family relationships and the psychology involved in dysfunctional ones will find an abundance to engage them here, in addition to the emotional story, itself. But so much detailing of the misery endured, piled onto this reader, felt repetitive and left me emotionally numb after a while. And in the second half, once Liz became homeless, the story took on more of an abstract feel with Liz generalizing and downplaying the day to day struggles when compared to the first half. Instead, she concentrated on her decision to take action to change her life through education as opposed to resigning herself to what seemed like a hopeless situation. I definitely admired Liz for her bravery and determination to empower herself and succeed, but I never got the real sense of what she went through at this stage when she was a dropout and homeless at sixteen and beyond, not enough to have that same emotional pull so prevalent in the first half of the book. But I did find other things to latch onto such as her building a family out of friends and her devising mental strategies for surviving. It was incredibly astute of her and inspirational for anyone wishing to change their life or simply get through its challenges. My favorite part in the book was when she used her imagination to envision success (view spoiler)[seeing her life as a running track with hurdles she must leap over to reach her goals, not viewing them as obstacles, but as a natural part of the course. (hide spoiler)] I don't want to sound as if Liz' story didn't affect me since it did. But after a while, I felt I'd heard everything I needed to hear about her parents and not enough about other things or other people. I wanted to know more about her sister who remained a shadowy figure compared to most others. And I wanted to know how Liz was able to succeed in her education considering the shaky foundation she had to build upon. This later part felt rushed and left my questions unanswered. So bottom line, I would recommend this book, keeping the above things in mind. It's perfect for group discussions and for someone looking for inspiration when facing challenges in their own life.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    There are so many thoughts running through my head after finishing this book. Liz Murray was raised by parents who were addicted to drugs. They loved Liz and her sister, but their need for drugs trumped everything in their lives, including providing for the basic needs of their daughters. Through hard work, determination, hope and the help of others, both girls are able to break the cycle and move on with their lives. At the age of 14, Liz decides it is better to be homeless than stay in her There are so many thoughts running through my head after finishing this book. Liz Murray was raised by parents who were addicted to drugs. They loved Liz and her sister, but their need for drugs trumped everything in their lives, including providing for the basic needs of their daughters. Through hard work, determination, hope and the help of others, both girls are able to break the cycle and move on with their lives. At the age of 14, Liz decides it is better to be homeless than stay in her current living situation or return to "the system". She survives some challenging situations and eventually realizes that the key to moving on in life is getting an education. Liz finds, gets accepted in and excels in an alternative high school, most of the time being a homeless student. She then sets her eyes on college - Harvard - and competes for and wins a New York Times scholarship. Before reading the book, I was impressed by the idea of the subtitle: "from homeless to Harvard". After reading, I am still impressed, but what amazes me even more is Liz's memories of her growing up years and the insights she has into her behavior and the behavior of those around her. As a teacher, I am so glad I read this book and was able to learn what life is like for a child with this type of a home life. I hope what I learned from this book will make me more compassionate with children in similar situations.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Vegan

    This memoir is truly amazing, especially as it pertains to showing the obstacles its author overcame; she has amazing resilience and she’s incredibly inspiring. This paperback edition includes discussion questions and an interview with the author, and they make this a good edition to read, especially if the book will be discussed with other readers. I’d love to see this assigned at alternative high schools similar to the one Liz graduated from, and to all high school students. This book is This memoir is truly amazing, especially as it pertains to showing the obstacles its author overcame; she has amazing resilience and she’s incredibly inspiring. This paperback edition includes discussion questions and an interview with the author, and they make this a good edition to read, especially if the book will be discussed with other readers. I’d love to see this assigned at alternative high schools similar to the one Liz graduated from, and to all high school students. This book is beautifully written, riveting, and very hard to put down. My intention was to read it concurrently with Harry Potter 6 (part of my Harry Potter 1-7 reread) but once I started reading, I had no desire to read any other books until I’d finished, not even Harry Potter books. It reminded me quite a bit of another favorite memoir about a (in some ways) horrific childhood: Blackbird: The Story of a Childhood Lost and Found by Jennifer Lauck. I won this book from Goodreads’ First Reads giveaway program, but it’s one of the few giveaway books I’ve ended up assigning 5 stars; I’ve expected to love all books I’ve tried to win, and I’ve liked or really liked most, but have given out fewer 5 star ratings than I would have expected to give. I had seen the television movie Homeless to Harvard that was based on this author’s story, and loved it, and I love the book even more than the movie. I highly recommend this book to all teens and adults, especially at risk teens and adults who could benefit from taking another look and maybe viewing differently street kids, drug addicts, people living in poverty, homeless people, and those they might see as “others.” I aspire to be more like Murray and how she let people in and how she took charge of her life, succeeding despite the challenges she faced. I love her down to earth attitude and admire her ability to forgive and move on.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tonya

    Having been told that this was the next Glass Castle, I was really excited to read it and from the opening it was a relentless, shocking, brilliant book. The pace was fast, the writing beautiful and the story line became a page-turner. I couldn't get enough. Then about two thirds into the book, Murray starts gushing thanks and apologies like she's using the memoir as a therapeutic tool rather than a book. She bangs on, nauseatingly, about sleeping rough, (we got it the 448th time Liz). Then she Having been told that this was the next Glass Castle, I was really excited to read it and from the opening it was a relentless, shocking, brilliant book. The pace was fast, the writing beautiful and the story line became a page-turner. I couldn't get enough. Then about two thirds into the book, Murray starts gushing thanks and apologies like she's using the memoir as a therapeutic tool rather than a book. She bangs on, nauseatingly, about sleeping rough, (we got it the 448th time Liz). Then she apologizes, incessantly, for being a bad daughter to a junkie whore of a mother. Then the real irritation began for me, she never stops telling you in the dying pages of the book how grateful she is to her teachers and how brilliantly she's done. It's a massive thank you note! I would accept all that, but I don't accept that this book is even mildly close to Glass Castle or even the follow up, Half Broke Horses. Liz Murray's story is a story of tragedy and triumph, she just stopped writing her novel two thirds in, so I stopped reading.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cori

    I wrote about Liz Murray when I first heard her interviewed on NPR, and I really wanted to read her memoir. It did not disappoint! I spent a lovely rainy weekend up at a cabin, and sat around reading Liz’s survival story all day, taking in all that she went through and how she overcame such incredible odds to “make it” in the world. Her writing was accessible and beautiful and gritty. Some of it was hard to read — I felt very protective of her and I found I just wanted to make everything OK. I wrote about Liz Murray when I first heard her interviewed on NPR, and I really wanted to read her memoir. It did not disappoint! I spent a lovely rainy weekend up at a cabin, and sat around reading Liz’s survival story all day, taking in all that she went through and how she overcame such incredible odds to “make it” in the world. Her writing was accessible and beautiful and gritty. Some of it was hard to read — I felt very protective of her and I found I just wanted to make everything OK. Sometimes I felt frustrated with her, and wanted her to make better decisions, the whole time realizing that no one ever taught her to make better decisions. It also reinforced my belief in education — if you can reach kids in a way they can understand (the school Murray attended had some non-traditional methods, along with some phenomenal teachers), they can find out what they are passionate about and have a better chance at succeeding in life. Breaking Night also is a lesson in starting over — it is never too late. The memoir ended sort of abruptly with her acceptance to Harvard. I wonder if she’s considering writing another memoir on her life after Breaking Night ends. I’d love to read how she handled college and beyond. OH! And toward the end she quoted one of her teachers: “Let’s eat, grandpa! Lets eat grandpa! Punctuation saves lives.” It had me smiling till the end of the book. I have a close friend who grew up in a similar situation — a drug-addicted yet loving mother who eventually died due to complications of her drug use and pnemonia. I’ve seen first-hand how this as affected my friend, and, thankfully, how she has also managed to rise above her situation and graduate from college. She now works with children with autism. For every story that is published, there must be a thousand that aren’t. Read my full review here: http://letseatgrandpa.com/2010/11/12/...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Hall

    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 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-than-desirable childhood themselves.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Eslam Abd Elghany

    Liz Murray's memoir so simply and profoundly impressed me,and no question while reading it or watching the TV movie based upon i was burst into tears... it teaches without the preacher's voice tone,uncovers the essence of human nature and conflict within this life,and i think it inspired and still many of those who are believing in themselves & in their dreams whatever may be their circumferences of living,EVEN IF THEY ARE HOMELESS...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Lumos

    I just want to say this: Liz Murray is one of my favorite people on this planet. To me, she embodies resilience, perseverance, and grit. I heard about Murray’s story at a particularly low point in my life – I had just left college due to a chronic medical condition and I had no idea if or when I would go back. But after watching the movie based on her life, “Homeless to Harvard”, I was left feeling inspired and motivated; Liz Murray’s story gave me hope at a time I had none. “In the years ahead I just want to say this: Liz Murray is one of my favorite people on this planet. To me, she embodies resilience, perseverance, and grit. I heard about Murray’s story at a particularly low point in my life – I had just left college due to a chronic medical condition and I had no idea if or when I would go back. But after watching the movie based on her life, “Homeless to Harvard”, I was left feeling inspired and motivated; Liz Murray’s story gave me hope at a time I had none. “In the years ahead of me, I learned that the world is actually filled with people ready to tell you how likely something is, and what it means to be realistic. But what I have also learned is that no one, no one truly knows what is possible until they go and do it.” And of course, after watching the movie, I had to read the book. I loved this story because it is realistic and relatable. Murray did not just slip on her Dorothy slippers and wish herself away to Kansas. Instead, her academic journey was a rollercoaster. Murray grew up in one of the lowest income areas of New York. Both her parents coped with severe mental illness and addiction. Her parents did love her, but their illness prevented them from giving Murray the care she deserved. Murray sometimes went days without a proper meal, shower or clean clothes. She also skipped school a lot. Her absence became so bad that a Social Worker had to investigate what was going on. I think she had too much going on in her life to worry about school. And at the age of 15, she became homeless. At this point in her life, she had no vision for her future. All she could think about was surviving the now. But then a tragic event changed her life: Murray’s mother passed away. Seeing her mother get buried triggered something inside of her. In an interview I saw, she said at that moment, she realized life was short and she was repeating the cycle of poverty. Her mother had died without accomplishing her dreams, and she did not want that to happen to her. She wanted to use education as a tool to climb out of the place she had been born into. At the age of 17, Murray started knocking on different high school doors. Everybody rejected her, but then an alternative high school took her in, and this is what set the wheels in motion for her. I guess all she needed was a chance. At her new high school, she gained access to friends and educators who cared about her wellbeing. And ironically, the kid who refused to go to school ended up seeing academia as her refuge. It gave her a structure, a purpose. But choosing to go to school was hard. She had to navigate the perils of academia while coping with homelessness, but she persevered. She did her homework underneath the lights of empty apartment hallways, she coach surfed, stayed late at school, and showed up early. And none of this was easy. She wanted to give up. It was a struggle to decide to get up every moment. But what kept her going was the hope for a brighter future. She never set out to get into Harvard. Rather she wanted to do her best and try to make something different of herself. She just wanted to see what would happen if she tried. But I think this is the part of the story that differentiates this memoir from others like it. Her journey in academia was non-linear. Yes, she got into Harvard, but her past still lingered with her. It took her 9 years to finish her undergraduate degree, and last I checked, she is completing a graduate degree in Psychology now. I would recommend this book to anyone who needs hope. But I would especially recommend this book to students with “unconventional” backgrounds. If you grew up in poverty, a dysfunctional family, or are going back to school after years of being away from academia, then read this book. I am positive it will be as life-changing for you as it was for me.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    This is one of those books that made me count my blessings. Liz was born to parents who loved her but were unreliable drug addicts. They tried to be good parents, but their own needs came first. And second. And third. Liz grew up not knowing when she would eat her next meal, never having clean clothes, and living in a filthy apartment where even basic maintenance wasn't carried out. Eventually her family fell apart and, as the title suggests, Liz became homeless. What could have been a very This is one of those books that made me count my blessings. Liz was born to parents who loved her but were unreliable drug addicts. They tried to be good parents, but their own needs came first. And second. And third. Liz grew up not knowing when she would eat her next meal, never having clean clothes, and living in a filthy apartment where even basic maintenance wasn't carried out. Eventually her family fell apart and, as the title suggests, Liz became homeless. What could have been a very depressing autobiography was, in fact, inspiring. Liz had a great sense of self and never let her circumstances define her. Her stories are full of ways in which she took the reins of her own life and provided for herself, even as a young child. I'm grateful I will never have to endure what she endured, and I'm in awe of her strength. For me, this book was mesmerizing. It's written in first person and at times I had a hard time remembering that I was not Liz. My stomach would rumble and I would wonder where my next meal was coming from before remembering that I am Heidi, not Liz, and I have a whole kitchen full of food. I even caught myself sitting at work wondering where I was going to sleep that night. I finally had to sit down and finish the darned book just so I could get on with my life!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mary Sue

    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 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.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Christa

    Wow, this was one incredible read--and it's really hard to believe that it's not fiction. I had heard of Liz Murray before--who can forget the catchy tagline "from homeless to Harvard?"--but I hadn't really read anything about her or seen the Lifetime movie about her story. So when I saw my library had this book, I was excited to give it a shot. The book really reads like a novel. It's very fast-paced, and it doesn't get bogged down with too much "explanation" like a lot of memoirs do (the Wow, this was one incredible read--and it's really hard to believe that it's not fiction. I had heard of Liz Murray before--who can forget the catchy tagline "from homeless to Harvard?"--but I hadn't really read anything about her or seen the Lifetime movie about her story. So when I saw my library had this book, I was excited to give it a shot. The book really reads like a novel. It's very fast-paced, and it doesn't get bogged down with too much "explanation" like a lot of memoirs do (the telling, rather than showing). I honestly couldn't put it down. The imagery Liz created was so real, especially her description of hunger as a young child. Those parts were gut-wrenching, as were the parts where her parents blow through the welfare check, leaving Liz and her sister knowing that they're going to be hungry until the next one arrives. Her description of her parents was especially interesting, I thought. Yes, they were coke addicts, and they spent the grocery money on their latest hits more often than not, but they weren't terrible people. They loved Liz and her sister, but they just couldn't break the addiction. I was really moved by this book--I am definitely not a crier, but the ending of this really had me tearing up when she describes all the help she got from the good-hearted people in her life (and later, from strangers), just to help her achieve her dream. It's the kind of book that opens your eyes and sticks with you.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Reese

    Liz Murray's journey from hell to Harvard & beyond is extraordinary (understatement), but her memoir is not. Granted, my assessment of Murray's book was affected by memories of gripping works by other authors who have managed to emerge intact from childhood experiences that "should" have destroyed their minds, bodies, and spirits. Remembering The Glass Castle, The Liars' Club, The End of the World as We Know It, Angela's Ashes, I expect "rags-to-[metaphorical or actual] riches" stories to Liz Murray's journey from hell to Harvard & beyond is extraordinary (understatement), but her memoir is not. Granted, my assessment of Murray's book was affected by memories of gripping works by other authors who have managed to emerge intact from childhood experiences that "should" have destroyed their minds, bodies, and spirits. Remembering The Glass Castle, The Liars' Club, The End of the World as We Know It, Angela's Ashes, I expect "rags-to-[metaphorical or actual] riches" stories to clear a high bar. The memoir in which Murray walks us through her journey, though often interesting, collides with my bar. With fewer details, Breaking Night could have been a better book, a more captivating book. But great nonfiction prose? No.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Tome

    What I'm going to say I can say of very few books indeed, but here it goes: Breaking night has changed my life; it has made me a kinder, braver, fiercer person, and I will forever be grateful to Liz Murray for writing it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    K

    A goodreads friend recently asked me about my antipathy toward The Glass Castle, and I couldn't for the life of me remember why I gave it only one star. I think there were some contextual factors at play in my own life at the time. I remember thinking it was hard to believe, and that I wished Jeannette Walls had shared more about how she transitioned from a horrific situation into her current apparently normal one, issues I had with this book as well. I can't really figure out why some A goodreads friend recently asked me about my antipathy toward The Glass Castle, and I couldn't for the life of me remember why I gave it only one star. I think there were some contextual factors at play in my own life at the time. I remember thinking it was hard to believe, and that I wished Jeannette Walls had shared more about how she transitioned from a horrific situation into her current apparently normal one, issues I had with this book as well. I can't really figure out why some rags-to-riches, triumph-of-the-human-spirit memoirs (Angela's Ashes) work for me, and others (The Glass Castle) don't. I can only say that this one fell in between. I was pretty horrified by Liz's drug-addicted parents and their neglect of her. I'm not sure how much of my disbelief stemmed from my difficulty absorbing Liz's childhood circumstances and how much of it was actual disbelief, especially that Liz could remember conversations and events from earliest childhood in such great detail. It's a question I have about many such memoirists. Similar to other reviewers, I would have liked to hear more about her complicated relationship with her older sister as opposed to yet more details about her life before she managed to turn things around. Bitter fights, estrangement, and suddenly they're sharing an apartment -- all believable, but I would have liked to understand it better. The relationship between siblings growing up in such horrific circumstances can be interesting and unpredictable. I also felt that I didn't fully understand her relationship with Carlos, a Jekyll/Hyde boyfriend. And yet, the book held my interest and I appreciate Liz's sharing more of the process of turning her life around than Jeannette Walls did, though I still felt that the emphasis on the horrors of her earlier life was more heavily weighted. There were some very inspiring moments and I never felt like it was a chore to read the book, my criticisms notwithstanding. Overall, if you liked The Glass Castle you'll probably like this. And even if, like me, you didn't, there's still a possibility you'll enjoy this one more.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jason Pellegrini

    It's hard to believe that people actually go through this stuff. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I'm reading a memoir and not a piece of fiction; pulling up from the depths of somebody's imagination. Then the reminder that it is all real makes the story that much better! Breaking Night is truly an unbelievable story, but yet it is the truth. The author's battle to escape the circumstances in which she was born in to and raised in is truly an amazing tale. Then once she decides what she It's hard to believe that people actually go through this stuff. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I'm reading a memoir and not a piece of fiction; pulling up from the depths of somebody's imagination. Then the reminder that it is all real makes the story that much better! Breaking Night is truly an unbelievable story, but yet it is the truth. The author's battle to escape the circumstances in which she was born in to and raised in is truly an amazing tale. Then once she decides what she wants to do and where she wants to go in her life, the fact that she went out and did it, when so many others succumb to defeat because it is just too hard, is such a motivation. If anything is taken from this story, it should be to never give up because there is a light, even at the end of the darkest tunnel. I would recommend this book to anyone, even those who only like fiction. Like I said earlier, this story is so amazing, it could pass as a work of fiction. It is a page turner! And the ending will not disappoint!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alisha Marie

    I remember seeing the movie Homeless to Harvard on the day it premiered in Lifetime when I was about 15. I found the film incredibly inspiring. The book...not so much. Well, that's not necessarily true. I found it inspiring once Liz started getting her act together, but before then I was just baffled at the choices Liz made. The movie made Liz seem more sympathetic than she actually was. In Homeless to Harvard, the reason that Liz didn't go to school was because she didn't feel right in leaving I remember seeing the movie Homeless to Harvard on the day it premiered in Lifetime when I was about 15. I found the film incredibly inspiring. The book...not so much. Well, that's not necessarily true. I found it inspiring once Liz started getting her act together, but before then I was just baffled at the choices Liz made. The movie made Liz seem more sympathetic than she actually was. In Homeless to Harvard, the reason that Liz didn't go to school was because she didn't feel right in leaving her mother, who had AIDS, alone. In Breaking Night, most of the time that she cut school, she did it to hang out with her friends. She didn't go to school because she just didn't feel like it. Not cool, especially if you consider that her older sister, who grew up in the exact same environment, did persevere and ended up graduating high school. Besides all the crap that her sister went through, she decided to get up every day and keep going and not using pathetic excuses to not go. That right there is inspiring. Liz Murray was just not sympathetic throughout most of the book. It was her decision to leave the house that she was living in, her decision to only visit her AIDS-stricken mom once after she left, her decision not to go back to the apartment her sister was living in once everything became to much. Maybe my non-sympathetic thoughts come from the fact that while I was in high school, my family was homeless for a while and I was shuffled from various family members' houses. Regardless of that, I graduated high school with honors and went on to college with minimal complaints. So, I just don't see what the huge deal is with having a tough home life and not going to school. She had the choice to attend school at first, she chose not to take it. But again, once Liz actually enrolled in the alternative high school, Breaking Night started getting better. It was inspirational that she actually enrolled in school because it would've been easier to say "Screw it!" She worked extremely hard in trying to cram all of her high school credits into two years. However, the most inspirational thing for me was the number of people who helped her once her article appeared in The New York Times. These strangers capacity to be empathetic and help a complete stranger was just mesmerizing and heartwarming for me. In the end, I thought that Breaking Night was just okay. Not sure if I would recommend it. I do, however, highly recommend the movie. It was amazing.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sonja Arlow

    This book broke my heart! Not only did it shatter me to read about a 4 year old who sees her parents shooting up drugs in the kitchen on a daily basis, having a mother that would steal her birthday money and squander all the welfare money just to score. What was even more upsetting is that these seemingly uncaring parents really loved their children. Its clear in all their interactions with their kids but their drug habits and the grip that their addiction had on them were just too much to fight. This book broke my heart! Not only did it shatter me to read about a 4 year old who sees her parents shooting up drugs in the kitchen on a daily basis, having a mother that would steal her birthday money and squander all the welfare money just to score. What was even more upsetting is that these seemingly uncaring parents really loved their children. Its clear in all their interactions with their kids but their drug habits and the grip that their addiction had on them were just too much to fight. What also got to me is the way Liz was convinced that if she was just a better child who complained less that she was hungry, or tired or filthy, that her parents would love her more. As I said, heartbreaking stuff. Besides the obvious horrendous account of the author’s upbringing I really found the rest of the story around her going back to school highly inspiring. Liz Murray is a talented writer who has an amazing knack for telling a compelling, inspirational story without once being preachy and it will stay with me for a long time. It made me count my blessings and put life’s little stumbling blocks in perspective. If you enjoyed The Glass Castle, or strong memoirs about beating the odds then you have to read this.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

    The triumph of Liz' life made it worth reading all the other difficulties she experienced. Her journey was about being raised in a home where her parents' main focus was on where their next high was coming from and advanced to being homeless then arrived to her hope for acceptance to Harvard. She was candidly honest in the accounting of her life and articulate in the retelling of the experiences as well as her feelings towards what was happening to her. Particularly well developed insights into The triumph of Liz' life made it worth reading all the other difficulties she experienced. Her journey was about being raised in a home where her parents' main focus was on where their next high was coming from and advanced to being homeless then arrived to her hope for acceptance to Harvard. She was candidly honest in the accounting of her life and articulate in the retelling of the experiences as well as her feelings towards what was happening to her. Particularly well developed insights into her relationships with family and friends. The best books, movies and shows I enjoy have a balance between humor and drama. I read this book quickly, in a few days, compelled to go from chapter to chapter but it was so oppressively sad. Surely she would start making decisions that would change her course, bring her happiness, I kept thinking, but on and on it went from unfortunate to tragic with no relief, no snippets of humor. It was not until I was about 85% done that there was finally a glimpse of respite from the darkness. It was almost like there was a tightness in my airway as I read. I kept hoping for more air, knowing it would come but when? When it finally did it was such a relief. Great ending.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jaksen

    Can't finish it. The same thing over and over. It's not the content; it's the unremitting, unendingness of it. Dirt and filth. Hunger and squalor. Drugs, drugs, drugs. Dirt and filth. Hunger and squalor. Drugs, drugs, drugs. Really, just beat me over the head with this, why dontcha. Initially I gave it no rating, but realizing how far I did get I can certainly offer one star. NOT for content. Good God, no, this kind of memoir needs to be written and read. But this one is so unremittingly the Can't finish it. The same thing over and over. It's not the content; it's the unremitting, unendingness of it. Dirt and filth. Hunger and squalor. Drugs, drugs, drugs. Dirt and filth. Hunger and squalor. Drugs, drugs, drugs. Really, just beat me over the head with this, why dontcha. Initially I gave it no rating, but realizing how far I did get I can certainly offer one star. NOT for content. Good God, no, this kind of memoir needs to be written and read. But this one is so unremittingly the same same same same same ... A dnf and one star for continual repetition that put me, despite the content, to sleep.

  22. 4 out of 5

    John of Canada

    "He did not know he could not fly.And so he did-Guy Clark ,The Cape I really wanted to like this book.And I did.The writing was glorious;kind,thoughtful and fair.Liz Murray has restored my faith in mankind.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Camille

    (March book club selection) I was really inspired by Liz Murray and what she's been able to make of her life after being raised in such difficult circumstances. The bulk of the book is spent describing her childhood and teenage years, and they are admittedly not easy to read about. Her parents were both drug addicts and not able to provide any kind of a normal childhood for Liz and her older sister. It gave me a profound sympathy for children raised in dysfunctional homes and a better (March book club selection) I was really inspired by Liz Murray and what she's been able to make of her life after being raised in such difficult circumstances. The bulk of the book is spent describing her childhood and teenage years, and they are admittedly not easy to read about. Her parents were both drug addicts and not able to provide any kind of a normal childhood for Liz and her older sister. It gave me a profound sympathy for children raised in dysfunctional homes and a better understanding of why they have such a difficult time pulling themselves out of the gutter, so to speak. Liz describes the way immediate physical needs take top priority for people in these circumstances, and really, when you never have enough food, sleep, or access to basic hygiene, how can you possibly see going to school and following society's social norms as important? Somehow she and her sister were both able to avoid getting involved with drugs or alcohol, and I was amazed at how Liz persisted in trying to keep her family together and maintain good relationships with her parents. She recognized their small acts of love even though neither one of them was in a position to be decent parents, and she and Lisa were the ones who took most of the responsibility of finding food, earning a little money, trying to keep the apartment clean, and caring for their mom and dad when they were high on drugs, tired from lack of sleep, and sick from AIDS. As she hits her teenage years, it all becomes too much for her to deal with and eventually she leaves home and begins living on the streets with a couple of friends. More difficulties follow as she struggles to survive the reality of being homeless. She has friends who do their best to help her, but it is still a terribly challenging time. Remarkably, she is able to maintain a vision of possibility for the future through all of this, and eventually she seeks out a place she can finish high school, realizing that an education will give her more options in her desire to make a better life for herself. This is where the book really gets good. The school she discovers has a wonderful staff that is dedicated to helping kids who have been consistent failures find a way to succeed, and succeed she does, eventually going on to get a terrific scholarship and be accepted into Harvard. I had a couple of favorite parts towards the end of the book. One was where she described getting her high school transcripts from her old school (which were one D grade and the rest Fs) to turn in to her new school, and how suddenly she was struck by the fact that the transcript for her new school was totally blank, allowing her the chance at a fresh start. She says, "The thought of a clean slate was thrilling, especially after looking at the mess I had created. With all the things that had been difficult, it was one blessing to count on, the knowledge that what I did from this moment on didn't have to depend on what I had done before. Back on Nineteenth Street [at the new school], I asked April to give me a copy of my blank Prep transcripts, which was a simple printout of my name on Prep stationery and rows of blank columns waiting to be filled by my future grades. The JFK ones I handed in to April and never looked at again. The blank ones I kept with me at all times. They were a reminder that I was, day by day, writing my future.” The other part I loved was at the very end, where she again realizes that she doesn’t have to be limited by her past. She is waiting for news of whether she will be accepted into Harvard, and she says, “Things turning around for me had been the result of my focusing on the few areas in life I could change, and surrendering to the knowledge that there were many more things that I just couldn’t make different. I could not rescue Sam from her family life, but I could be her friend. I could never change Carlos, but I could leave that relationship and take care of myself. I couldn’t heal my parents, as much as I wanted to, but I could forgive and love them. I could also choose to carve out a life for myself that was in no way limited by what had already occurred in my past.” What a life-changing revelation that was for her! Liz doesn’t tie it in to religion, but for me, I see how the atonement helps people do exactly what she describes here—leave the past behind and change for the better.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin Tyo

    Sigh. It's been devoured. My brain is spinning as I think of what to write for this review. Honestly, this was one of the best biographies I have ever read. This is the most incredible story of a person who has so much stacked against her, yet accomplishes so much. It's the story of Liz. Her childhood is FUCKED and her parents are heavy drug addicts, who mean well but are constantly in and out of her life only waiting to get the next high. She has a sister who knows what is happening to her is Sigh. It's been devoured. My brain is spinning as I think of what to write for this review. Honestly, this was one of the best biographies I have ever read. This is the most incredible story of a person who has so much stacked against her, yet accomplishes so much. It's the story of Liz. Her childhood is FUCKED and her parents are heavy drug addicts, who mean well but are constantly in and out of her life only waiting to get the next high. She has a sister who knows what is happening to her is wrong, but Liz only wants love from her parents and the people around her. It's a real life account of a child struggling to survive in the [you-can't-imagine-this] life she has been given. And here I am as a teacher, seeing only the school side of a child's life. This gave me so much insight as to what my students might be going through. If only every teacher and social worker and staff member could read this. I couldn't put this book down. I was astonished by how detailed Liz describes her life and her family. It's incredible that it is real. I'm just trying to really digest it and it's difficult. I feel connected to Liz even though my life is so different from hers. She has inspired me even though I have never met her. She writes: For one thing, in my family and for the people in our neighborhood, the pace of life was frantic, determined solely by immediate needs: hunger, rent, heat, the electric bill. A standard of "for right now" was applied to every dilemma. Welfare wasn't a solid life plan, but for right now bills were due and the check must be cashed. Ma and Daddy shouldn't be getting high, but for right now Ma had the shakes and needed her fix. I should go to school, but for right now I had no clean clothes and I'd already fallen too far behind. Thirty five dollars of groceries wouldn't feed all four of us for a month, but for right now we could try. On our side of the wall, priority was given to whatever thing might solve the most immediate problem. This is why the lives of those on the other side of the wall held so much mystery for me. The story gave me some insight as to how my Dad grew up, as one of 13 children in a poor neighborhood in Black Rock, Buffalo. There are some minor parallels to my life. Kelly, you should read this. Anyways, I'm glad I always give homeless people money, even though people probably laugh at me. One of them could be Liz. I thought a lot about wealth inequality in this country and how people treat the poor. Rich, selfish, cheap ass people enraged me as I read about Liz's life vs. their privileged life. [I am well aware my life is very much privileged, as a white heterosexual female who grew up in a suburb.] It made me want to shove the pages of this book in their faces and say SEE! These programs help people and are needed. I understand they are flawed, but I totally support lending a hand to anyone in need no matter what. Lastly, the story is about the power of friendship and believing in yourself, which I am beginning to learn are the most important things in one's life. I feel empowered to help after reading this book and I thank Liz Murray for sharing her amazing story with us.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Judith

    I am probably the last person in America to hear this inspiring true story, since it was featured on 20/20 and some kind of movie was made of it as well. I was thinking that the subtitle "From homeless to Harvard" basically said it all, so I wasn't expecting any suspense. Even though I knew from the title how it would turn out, the book was gripping and full of adventure(?). I was also erroneously thinking that the story would be of a middle class person whose parents were affected by the I am probably the last person in America to hear this inspiring true story, since it was featured on 20/20 and some kind of movie was made of it as well. I was thinking that the subtitle "From homeless to Harvard" basically said it all, so I wasn't expecting any suspense. Even though I knew from the title how it would turn out, the book was gripping and full of adventure(?). I was also erroneously thinking that the story would be of a middle class person whose parents were affected by the recession, and who went from a good life to the economic tragedy of living in a car while her parents sought employment to reverse their situation. Ha! That would have been a step up for this poor author. Her parents were both drug addicts before she was born and during the remainder of their lives. She was born with drugs in her system and things didn't get any better for her during her childhood and adolescence. Her descriptions of her home life were so heartbreaking, yet the author's talent is such that she somehow avoids the whining tone. She makes it clear in every situation that she felt extremely loved by both her parents, and that despite their addictions, they were lively, funny, and interesting people. This just makes you want to kill them more. She and her sister were raised in NYC in extreme poverty. They were generally only fed during the first week of the month when the welfare check came in. She describes a scene in which the two of them are so hungry one night that they eat the toothpaste and a cherry-flavored chapstick. The bathtub in their apartment gets clogged up early in her life and is never fixed, so it is filled with rancid sludge for years, and the only "baths" they get are in public restrooms or using water from the sink. The night before her first day of school, her mother decides she needs a haircut. So in a drug-addled stupor, cuts her bangs so short they are just little spikes at the hairline, causing her to lose any possibility of making a good first impression. But that's not as bad as when she and her sister get lice. This book is truly inspirational and should be required reading for all high school students. By the time the author was 17, she only had 1 credit and she woke up and decided she wanted a high school diploma, not a GED. So she went through 4 years of high school in 2 years (not counting summers, during which she had to work full-time). She earned all A's and she slept on hallway landings, on subway trains and whenever she could, on the floors of friends' apartments. She gives credit throughout to all the wonderful teachers and the parents of friends who helped her, which makes her more endearing.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    Call me jaded, but these days it's a rare book that can so capture me that I can't put it down. This is one of those books. Liz Murray was born into an appalling life in New York City, the child of drug addicted parents. She recounts here childhood in Brooklyn, scavenging for furniture, clothes and toys in garbage bins with her father. Her mother received an SSI disability check each month, and her parents would blow it on drugs in the first two weeks. By the age of nine she wasn't attending Call me jaded, but these days it's a rare book that can so capture me that I can't put it down. This is one of those books. Liz Murray was born into an appalling life in New York City, the child of drug addicted parents. She recounts here childhood in Brooklyn, scavenging for furniture, clothes and toys in garbage bins with her father. Her mother received an SSI disability check each month, and her parents would blow it on drugs in the first two weeks. By the age of nine she wasn't attending school but was running the streets with friends, trying to find food, money or fun. By the age of 15, she was homeless. As anyone who has done more than drive through any large city knows, life on the street is hard, and survival is not certain -- especially for young girls. With the help of multiple friends (she now calls them family), she survived, and finally thrived. If you saw the movie on Lifetime years ago, you still have no idea of the despair, love and joy of her story, because movies necessarily leave out so much of the story. I read this over the weekend of my High School's 40th reunion, and it was so riveting that when I finished I was just awe struck by this woman's courage and character.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    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 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.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    What was Noteworthy: -The book is a memoir, meaning it is non-fictional. -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, What was Noteworthy: -The book is a memoir, meaning it is non-fictional. -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.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Hildy

    Wow! I never would have picked up this book had a GR friend not recommended it. I'd never heard of Liz Murray and therefore didn't know her story. I cried from sadness and from extreme happiness. I felt like I could so clearly picture every place Liz inhabited and she just tugged at my heart. I teach little children and I can't imagine any of them having to go through what she went through. What surprised me most of all was her unwavering love for her family. It didn't seem like much of one to Wow! I never would have picked up this book had a GR friend not recommended it. I'd never heard of Liz Murray and therefore didn't know her story. I cried from sadness and from extreme happiness. I felt like I could so clearly picture every place Liz inhabited and she just tugged at my heart. I teach little children and I can't imagine any of them having to go through what she went through. What surprised me most of all was her unwavering love for her family. It didn't seem like much of one to me and yet I never doubted her love for them and oddly enough, their love for her. Her parents never took care of her but she still felt their love and that's amazing to me. Her story was inspirational.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ruth Turner

    This is really quite a remarkable story, and well worth reading.

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