Thursday, September 30, 2010

Breaking Night by Liz Murray

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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