BREAKING NIGHT BOOK
Breaking night: (Urban slang) staying up through the night, until the sun rises Breaking Night and millions of other books are available for instant access. view . Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. From runaway to Harvard student, . Breaking Night is a book about bravery and about consequence and about personal dreams and hopes that each independently can change a. Start by marking “Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard” as Want to Read: 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.
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In pacing and style, however, “Breaking Night” reads more like an his library card in a new name because he never returned the books. This book is presented in misery memoir tradition: a little girl lost on its cover, its author's name in gold and a title that boasts Breaking Night. Breaking Night by Liz Murray, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide.
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 h I remember seeing the movie Homeless to Harvard on the day it premiered in Lifetime when I was about 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! 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. Jan 28, Sonja Arlow rated it really liked it Recommended to Sonja by: 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. 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.
If you enjoyed The Glass Castle , or strong memoirs about beating the odds then you have to read this. View all 4 comments. Jun 01, Lyn rated it liked it. 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. 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 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.
Apr 10, Jaksen rated it did not like it Shelves: 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. 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 sam Can't finish it. 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.
May 30, John of Canada rated it it was amazing Shelves: And I did. The writing was glorious;kind,thoughtful and fair. Liz Murray has restored my faith in mankind. Sep 12, Camille rated it really liked it Shelves: 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 understand 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.
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 blank ones I kept with me at all times.
They were a reminder that I was, day by day, writing my future. 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 could also choose to carve out a life for myself that was in no way limited by what had already occurred in my past.
May 05, Caitlin Tyo rated it it was amazing. 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 w Sigh. 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: 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.
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.
Breaking Night : A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard
Jan 10, Judith rated it it was amazing. 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.
That would have been a step up for this poor author.
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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.
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 sch Call me jaded, but these days it's a rare book that can so capture me that I can't put it down. 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. Jan 06, Catherine rated it liked it Shelves: I probably would have liked this more if it were the first book of the genre I had read. 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.
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. 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.
Sep 19, Aaron rated it it was amazing Shelves: What was Noteworthy: 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. They are not fit for taking care of children, y What was Noteworthy: 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. They neglected her, scandalously, but loved her in their own hopelessly dysfunctional way.
Breaking Night : A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard
By the age of six she was accustomed to watching her parents shoot up her mother was almost blind, so her father had to help her do it. She left home at 15, carrying with her a crumpled snapshot of her mother, taken at a similar age — a girl with a storm cloud of hair and an unnervingly absent stare. It is the only picture reproduced in the book — her talisman. No wonder Murray preferred the photo to the reality. Murray's mother was dying of Aids while her daughter rode the subways at night for warmth, slept in stairwells on marble floors, camped in friends' houses, scavenged in rubbish bins and played truant from school.
Murray fell into a relationship with a teenage coke dealer — slippery and charismatic — who put her up in a series of dodgy motels. But remarkably, by focusing on her parents' bad example, she managed to avoid drugs herself. And, at 17, she motivated herself to return to high school — making up a year's work with every term. It was not the role of friends, she suddenly understood, to pay her rent. Murray set herself the highest goals and won a New York Times scholarship that led to the place at Harvard.
Now she devotes herself to running her own company, Manifest Living, which "empowers" others to change their lives.
It is an extraordinary achievement and the book is an absorbing, pacy, disturbing read. One feels Murray has placed herself, through her story, beyond reproach. Yet there are problems. The prose itself is smart, fluent and relentlessly spry. 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 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.
Review quote "From runaway to Harvard student, Murray tells an engaging, powerfully motivational story about turning her life around 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.
She fended for herself on the streets, eventually returning to high school. She was accepted into Harvard, where she attended college classes for three years before taking time off to help her father, who died of AIDS. She returned to college, and is now taking graduate courses at Harvard. Liz gives speaking engagements around the country.It was incredibly astute of her and inspirational for anyone wishing to change their life or simply get through its challenges.
She describes this plunder in detail: a broken pink hair-dryer for her sister, a fancy glass box for her mother, a filthy toy truck for herself.
By the time you have envisaged the coffee table strewn with her mother's knickers, her parents' blood on the walls and the Wonder Bread, the lice having a field day on her head, you are desperate to read about scouring, clean water and gallons of shampoo.
These programs help people and are needed. Jan 06, Catherine rated it liked it Shelves: Murray's mother was dying of Aids while her daughter rode the subways at night for warmth, slept in stairwells on marble floors, camped in friends' houses, scavenged in rubbish bins and played truant from school. A good choice for fans of against-all-odds memoirs.
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