Breaking Night

“Many nights, I longed for home. But it occurred to me as I struggled for a feeling of comfort and safety: I have no idea where home is.” — Liz Murray, Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard

Breaking Night is a memoir of Liz Murray that describes her journey from living on the streets to making it into Harvard. The title Breaking Night means staying up through the night until the sun rises. Liz was born to drug-addicted parents in the Bronx. At age fifteen, when she lost her mother, she found herself on the streets.

Eventually, Liz went back to school and then was awarded with New York Times scholarship which enabled her to go to Harvard.

I listened to Murray’s book on Audible where the author had narrated the book. It was really touching and saddening. When Liz and her sister Lisa were growing up, their parents would use all the money received from welfare on drugs so after burning through that money in two weeks, there was no money left for food or anything else. Liz occasionally went to school and she was somehow passed up in grades every year. When she was twelve, she tried to get a job to buy stuff but no one would hire her as she was too young. And then, one day her mother sat her down saying “I’ve got it, baby I’ve got it. I’m sick. I have Aids”..

“Life has a way of doing that; one minute everything makes sense, the next, things change. People get sick. Families break apart, your friends could close the door on you”. — Liz Murray, Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard

I don’t know. It’s really hard even to start to process all the hardships described in this book. I was often walking around in a daze because I was so impressed and bothered by the book. The childhood spent figuring out why your parents are acting like this and what they do behind closed doors or living in an apartment where shower was flooding so badly you had to stand on a bucket.

And then the AIDS, the abusive boyfriend, having no place to live while figuring out the studies and where to keep the books and making through it all. It was really something special. I very much enjoyed reading this and would rate the book 4/5 stars

“But avoidance allows you to believe that you’re making all kinds of strides when you’re not.” — Liz Murray, Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard

How-To Read Breaking Night

1. It’s very inspirational and will help you realize that sometimes your dreams are closer than you think. And that sometimes you have to make choices like Liz made between pizza and a bus ticket.

2. It’s not one of those annoying self-help books. If you know what I mean. Okay Murray does say “It took everything I got” a lot but other than that it’s just facts and how she kept trying. There are no senseless life advices to be found here.

3. Audible and the audiobook edition is wonderful because author has narrated the work herself. I warmly recommend it.

Have you read this? Would you be able to make it if you were homeless?