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

Liz Murray
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 7 2010
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, 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.

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Review

"It's a white-knuckle account of survival, marked by desperation, brutality and fear, set in the wilds of the Bronx...Breaking Night itself is full of heart, without a sliver of ice, and deeply moving" -- Tara McKelvey The New York Times "Liz Murray shows us that the human spirit has infinite ability to grow and can never be limited by circumstance. Breaking Night is a beautifully written, heartfelt memoir that will change the way you look at your community, the obstacles in your own life, and the American Dream. An inspiration; a must-read." -- Robert Redford "As much as it is a memoir, Breaking Night is a primer on how poverty and drug abuse create a heartbreaking underclass of children, one that goes largely unnoticed. By the truly uplifting ending, Liz Murray has shown us the worst, and the very best, of America." -- Haven Kimmel, Author Of A Girl Named Zippy And She Got Up Off The Couch "In tender and graceful prose, Murray gives us the uncompromising and searing story of a forgotten family and devastated childhood. She reminds us that the greatest acts of love and failure can occur side by side; that isolation and loss can give way to accomplishment and promise. She offers the awesome hope that, regardless of its past, a life can go beyond endurance and reach for triumph. She leaves us with the memory of a child who clung to and refused to surrender the dignity of her soul." -- Andrew Bridge, Author Of Hope's Boy "Liz Murray's startling and beautifully written memoir is a story of one young woman's tenacity, ingenuity, brilliance and compassion. It not only shows us the fierce, triumphant spirit of teenage girls, but that of the human spirit, as well." Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues and I am An Emotional Creature --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

LIZ MURRAY was left homeless at age 15 after her mother's death from AIDS. 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. A movie about her life, Homeless to Harvard, was made by Lifetime in 2003, and airs frequently.

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Customer Reviews

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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good March 8 2013
By Sacora
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The backing was really worn but it was still readable. The content in the book is awesome. Liz Murray is brilliant for what she went through.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring Nov. 5 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very interesting read! Really made me feel how we can choose the way we live with the choices we make.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to keep Nov. 3 2010
By Anna
Format:Hardcover
Very touching and extremely inspiring book. I absolutely love it. Everything is possible, but you've got to help yourself. Her book makes me start to think the options in my life and what do I want to do with them.

This book provides me a new perspective into the life of homeless people. But it also makes me wonder what would be the way to help the run-away teenagers and homeless while they don't seem to care their future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breaking The Night Dec 1 2010
By Marina
Format:Hardcover
A great book. Emotional at times, but it shows that it is never too late to turn your life around. The author proves that a strong will and dedication can overpower any difficult situation which in her case was her entire life. I strongly recommend this book to everyone especially high school age group.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Honest and Uplifting Jan. 4 2011
By Berry
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Breaking Night is the most honestly-written book I've read all year. Far too often we read about successful people who are naturally smart and it was refreshing to hear about the long hours she invested into her work to make the grade and obstacles she overcame. The book makes you reflect on your own circumstances and inspires you to achieve more and help others along the way. I admire the value she holds for her friendships and for her acknowledgment of those who helped her along the way. I will keep this book close at hand and among my favorites.
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