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.
From runaway to Harvard student, Murray tells an engaging, powerfully motivational story about turning her life around after growing up the neglected child of drug addicts. When Murray was born in 1980, her former beatnik father was in jail for illegally trafficking in prescription painkillers, and her mother, a cokehead since age 13, had just barely missed losing custody of their year-old daughter, Lisa. Murray and her sister grew up in a Bronx apartment that gradually went to seed, living off government programs and whatever was left after the parents indulged their drug binges; Murray writes that drugs were the "wrecking ball" that destroyed her family prompting her mother's frequent institutionalization for drug-induced mental illness and leading to her parents inviting in sexual molesters. By age 15, with the help of her best friend Sam and an elusive hustler, Carlos, she took permanently to the streets, relying on friends, sadly, for shelter. With the death of her mother, her runaway world came to an end, and she began her step-by-step plan to attend an alternative high school, which eventually led to a New York Times scholarship and acceptance to Harvard. 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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Without a doubt, inspiring!
After I watched the movie, from homeless to Harvard, so many times, I needed a deeper and more direct source of inspiration. And I guarantee that you will get that from this book!
A wonderful memoir
The love she had for her parents is amazing. And also the determination to follow her dreams is very inspirational.
Liz Murray's story of her childhood, and her determination to survive made me feel proud of her and, allowed me to celebrate my own triumph over my own childhood.
Homeless to Harvard provides the reader with a 'horrible' insight into the lives of the millions of people who live in fear of living on the street, of not enough to eat and fear of life.
Many of us who come from families ridden with drugs and alcohol learn to 'reinvent' ourselves. However, no matter how many changes we experience we still are tied to our parents and our beginnings.
Liz's love for her family of origin was real and accepting and gave her the ability to love others, truly amazing story!