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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2013
This memoir had more promise than it delivered. I think it would have been much better if the author spent more time on the recovery side of the story instead of devoting 80% to the junkie side. Really got repetitive and boring. Have to believe that turning her life around and the battles to reform her life would have made for more a more unique, interesting and informative story.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2012
Breaking Night is an inspiring & empowering book. Liz Murray's writing is so descriptive and eloquent. I felt I was there with her throughout all of her experiences. Liz's success story stems from the power of forgiveness, compassion and community. Her journey of growing up with drug addicted parents, being homeless in her teenage years, and finally graduating from Harvard, is a true testament that forgiveness and community can shift a person's reality. Liz forgave her parents for not being present in her childhood, and had friends/teachers who supported her during her homeless period. She didn't listen to her thoughts that encouraged her to give up - she kept going for her life, learning respect, diligence and compassion along the way. I feel so enlivened by reading this book. It is beautifully written - a love story about life.

I also recommend Ariel & Shya Kanes' How to Have A Match Made in Heaven. This book is full of true stories of people who find forgiveness, compassion and kindness for themselves. After reading this book, I have found all my relationships (especially my relationship with myself) to be truly magical and full of love. There are also video links included in the book so you can actually see the people you read about!

If you want to experience the success you have dreamed is possible (in all areas of your life), I highly recommend both Liz Murray's and the Kanes' books for your library.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2010
I don't read much, I'm more of a TV person, and I write reviews even less but I just had to write about Breaking Night. I've had a lot of trouble staying motivated in my life. Some days it's hard to get out of bed, but this book makes me feel hopeful..like I can really make something out of my life. There is just something about the way Murray writes that feels like she is sitting right across from you talking to you. Breaking Night reads like a good story told in a conversation with an old friend, only it's better than that because the choices Murray makes in her life are beyond inspiring. They make you want to get up off your butt and DO something with your life.

Next time you're thinking about going to the self-help section for a book for motivation, skip it and just head for memoirs. Get Breaking Night. It's better than a dozen self-help books put together.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
to start:

"WOW"...(there were many "wows", actually)

I finished this book over two weeks ago, and still find it a little hard to "write" about it.

Liz Murray has come forward with the story of her life up to now, growing up with alcoholic and drug-addicted parents, who, though they loved her, certainly were not able to care for her and her sister correctly. Thus we are shown the painful, and rending separation, that comes with these conditions thrust upon these two sisters to have to deal with even at the ages of toddlers, and up on through adulthood.

To daily witness their parent's using, drinking, and passing out for hours, or all day, etc. To go hungry because the "check" is gone on it's 3rd day at the beginning of the month. To be a child of the streets, because that's where one finds people to love them, and befriend them, only returning home to sleep...to skip school and finally be incarcerated in a home, removed from your parents and their disfunctionality and thrust into another "haven of hell" if one will, must simply be totally bewildering, and destructive, depressive, and totally unimaginable to those of us who have never even come close to this tragedy that does, indeed, present itself to many many children.

Liz Murray truly has had the angels or someone watching over her, to pick her up, or show her how to pick herself up, and to rise up out of her plight of near utter hopelessness and to go on...it truly warms one's heart, and reaffirms, I believe, God's love.

She got herself back into high school, and finished in two years with A's and B's, and beyond that, got herself accepted into Harvard, and has come "up from the sidewalks of New York, into the healthy sunshine of a life that is resplendant with one of the finest educations (gotten solely on her determination to rise up), a "New Live", a "Healthy Life", truly a "Miracle Life".

Able to forgive her father, and accept him as who he is, and to work through all the tremendously hurtful things/aspects of her mother's life and truly tragic death from AIDS, working through forgiveness and healing herself from all this, Liz is truly what I would call a "Walking Miracle".

As I said at the beginning of this review, I am still processing, thinking, and blown away by this amazing book from this truly amazing young woman and her illumination of her life growing up under the conditions that she did.

Everyone should read this book....I cannot imagine anybody who will not be, first, blown away at where she came from, and, second, reaffirmed by what is right and sometimes comes about, in this world of ours. I have NEVER been so deeply touched by, and proud of, anyone's struggle and climb as Liz's. This book will surely reaffirm your belief in "Someone's watching over us", which, surely is a good thing to have reminder of.

God Bless you Liz, I'm very proud of you and what you have done. May your future forever be bright...you certainly worked for this option!

~operabruin
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
You would not, three chapters into this sobering book by Liz Murray, believe that anyone could come out whole from the childhood exposed to light here. Liz and her sister Lisa, neglected children of good-hearted but drug-addled parents, survive a horrific childhood and youth that I could not imagine. They go without food, or little food, and clean clothing, while their clueless mother and father fritter money away on drugs and alcohol. There are rare glimpses of nearly-normal family life, but they don't last long; their living conditions are ghastly, and though the parents attempt to instill in Liz the importance of school, no one is guiding her in any way, and she only manages to escape the system and squeeze by by the expedient of being highly intelligent and passing all the standardized tests to promote her, grade by grade. I live in a city small enough that neglect of this magnitude would probably be caught far sooner than it was in Liz's case; she is stuck in the maw of New York City, however, where kids like her are probably thick and difficult to catch or keep up with. Even where I live, the social welfare system is overtaxed and buried; I can't imagine what NYC is like. Eventually, Liz is brought into the system, long past time, though she manages to escape back into street life, successfully avoiding the authorities. Her epiphany, at the age of 17, is nothing short of miraculous. She eventually achieves vindication over all her demons.

This was a difficult book to read, and I can only commend Ms Murray for her strength and power to exist through horrors that should have destroyed her. I'd like to see a book from her sister as well, who seems to have survived by closing her eyes to what was going on around her and forging ahead, never missing school and apparently never sinking into street life. She even attempts to shame her parents into reality by berating them when they go on binges, to no avail.

I was a little put off by Liz's seeming enabling of her parents as she assisted them in their procurement of drugs (by getting them past the militant Lisa) and her attempts to cull favor by aiding them in every bad way, but everyone has their own defense system and who is to know, case by case, what someone else would do in such circumstances. The important thing is her eventual escape out of the loop, and it is fairly clear that she never took to drugs herself.

A gut-wrenching portrayal of a non-childhood that should not be visited on anyone, this story was made into a movie a few years ago. Liz is now a motivational speaker.

This is a powerful book and should be part of a college social studies curriculum.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2010
I would highly recommend this book to anyone. There. I said it and now that I've totally gotten rid of the anticipation of what I recommend, let me tell you about this book. Liz Murray was born in 1980 addicted to crack (because her mom used consistently throughout her pregnancy), but otherwise healthy and lived in the Bronx, New York. During her time growing up, she watched her parents struggle with drug addiction and struggling to provide for her and her older sister, Lisa. Liz also dealt with the HIV/AIDS epidemic in a way that most of us may never, ever know about. At 15, Liz became homeless. She had no place to live and, for a long period of time, did not go to school. However, Liz did manage to get into an alternative school - the Humanities Prepatory Academy in Manhattan, where she managed to complete all of her assignments in the subway stations that she slept in. She earned enough credits to graduate in two years and was eventually accepted into Harvard University.

This young woman showed an uncanny maturity beginning at an early age - she knew how to mainline drugs at age 6 (even though she never used them) and had to care for her parents when they both hit their rock bottom moments (which seemed to happen often enough in Liz's early life). She showed that she is a fighter by being able to scramble to care for herself in the girls' home that she was placed at during her early adolescence and then during the period of time that she was homeless. I was deeply impressed by her writing style - no holds barred, but classy at the same time. This isn't just some morality tale for the reader; she literally just tells it like it is.

Worth the read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2010
Yes, Breaking Night is an amazing inspirational story of overcoming adversity, which everyone should read and be impacted by. It is more, however - it is the story of seeing the gifts and beauty in all aspects of life - even in its hardships and 'challenges'. Liz writes of the love she received from her mother smothering her with kisses every night, the kindness and commitment of strangers and of understanding that her parents gave her all they were capable of - Breaking Night is the most powerful celebration of LIFE and all of its gifts!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 21, 2010
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This memior was rich and amazing.. Like The Glass Castle, keeps you rivited to it. I stayed awake to 1:30 one morning trying to finish this.
Liz has gone through so much and actually stayed sane through it all. I found myself cheering her and wanting to know more about her after i finished.
This young woman could have just given up and been another welfare person.. or became a drug addict like her parents did.
I give her a sound applause.. and also her sister Lisa for overcoming so much
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2010
A beautiful Story that trapped me from the very first page, I really couldn't put it down!

"Liz" I think you're more than a surviver, you're an angel on earth, people like you make this world a better place to live.

THANK YOU for sharing your story :)

Yanni
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book was touted as similar to Glass Castle. And in one way it is; both are about growing up and surviving a childhood that should have knocked them flat. Both are about not just survival but triumph. But Liz Murray has her own voice and her own way of telling a tough tale.

Liz is the daughter of hippie drug addicts who eventually both die of AIDS, her mother in and out of psychiatric ward. Spending their welfare check on drugs, they are willing to watch their two daughters go hungry and go without acceptable clean clothing. Liz writes of eating eggs and mayonnaise, mayonnaise and eggs and she tells of wearing week old socks, of underwear so worn out the crotch simply disintegrates... and still her parents buy the nickel bag to shoot up.

Liz does not shy away from the reality of life with drug addicts but at times is, it seems, she writes in an attempt to convince herself that in spite of the neglect, her parents loved her. They are trapped in a viscous habit which they can not climb out of and that is destroying them. Desperate for their love, Liz learns early the way to react to situations, to outwardly agree. To be a good daughter meant keeping parts of herself tucked away.

Liz Murray's story is well known, having appeared on Oprah and 20/20, homeless she steals books and and finishes high school in two years. When the New York Times offers a scholarship she is given a full ride to Harvard.

Liz Murray's fortitude and determination make her more than a survivor, she is a conqueror.
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