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


Overview - 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.  Read more...


 
Hardcover
  • $26.00
Sorry: This item is not currently available.

FREE Shipping for Club Members
 
> Check In-Store Availability

In-Store pricing may vary

 
 
New & Used Marketplace 85 copies from $2.99
 
Download

This item is available only to U.S. billing addresses.
 
 
 
 

More About Breaking Night by Liz Murray
 
 
 
Overview
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.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780786868919
  • ISBN-10: 0786868910
  • Publisher: Hachette Books
  • Publish Date: September 2010
  • Page Count: 334
  • Dimensions: 1 x 6.75 x 9.75 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.25 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Personal Memoirs

 
BookPage Reviews

Sense and possibility: from homeless to Harvard

You may not know Liz Murray by name, but you may be familiar with the TV movie Homeless to Harvard, Lifetime’s version of her teen years, during which she transitioned from sleeping in doorways and subways to an Ivy League dorm of one’s own. Breaking Night allows Murray to tell her own story, beginning in early childhood, and it’s a truly harrowing tale.

Born to two loving but profoundly drug-addicted parents, Liz and older sister Lisa must fend for themselves almost from birth. Forced to run interference between truant officers, social workers, dealers, pimps, “Ma” and “Daddy,” Liz runs wild from an early age, stealing food from supermarkets and pumping gas for tips, while Lisa maintains an almost militant focus on schoolwork as a possible means of rescue. As their parents split up and Ma is diagnosed with HIV and then AIDS, the family fractures completely. Lisa goes to stay with Ma’s new, abusive boyfriend, and Daddy ultimately signs away his parental rights to Liz, who takes to the streets with a boyfriend who seems perfect, but looks increasingly unstable with every passing day.

Murray does a wonderful job telling her own story, giving an honest account of the powerful love that connects her family even as addiction and disease separate them. She captures the giddy freedom of being a teenager completely on her own, but counters it with a perfect take on the impact of homelessness: “The strain of not having your most basic needs met can drive you a little crazy. Hunger wears on your nerves; nervousness wears on your energy; malnutrition and stress just plain wear on you.” (I was homeless for over a year as an adult, and that says it all.) Because of her parents’ history, she stays sober throughout this ordeal; not using drugs or alcohol means feeling the cold, hunger and loneliness without a buffer, and likely also gave her the clear vision needed to finally enroll in the alternative high school that turned things around for her.

We know things end well for Liz, but she wisely ends Breaking Night as she’s waiting somewhat frantically for the mailman to bring the fateful “fat” envelope bearing an acceptance letter from Harvard. A beloved teacher tells her to “relax, have some compassion for yourself,” and really stop and absorb how far she’s come. It’s as necessary for us as it is for her, considering the journey we’ve just been on together. Murray’s story is a jarring ride that leads to something better—a sense of possibility.

 

 
BAM Customer Reviews