Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Breaking Night: A Memoir by Liz Murray

Breaking Night: A MemoirBreaking Night: A Memoir by Liz Murray

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Liz Murray's memoir is so amazing because of the horrors she endured on a daily basis, yet still loved her drug addled parents who would live paycheck to paycheck to buy drugs. And since Liz was six when this change in her life became apparent, Liz would do whatever she could to keep her parents' attention -- like be a lookout, or as her mom waited in line for her check, Liz would help her get through the wait time by asking questions and providing nonstop encouragement to her mother. There were times when her mother was hospitalized and her father would take over but still continue with the drugs. As a result of this dysfunction, at a very early age, Liz began to skip school; one time she was even taken to a girls home until she stopped her truancy. Liz's descriptions of their fetid apartment, her lice infested head, her filthy clothes and constant hunger are even more jarring because she loves her parents and then begins to hate them when she is taken away and her mother continually lets her down. Luckily Liz has many friends who become she extended family and she spends time with these friends for food and lodging. She never talks to them about her life, but she seeks and gains acceptance with these friends who are still part of her life today. As much as you feel so sorry for her, Liz is indomitable in spirit and keeps grabbing onto what life will give her---sometimes a lot, sometimes a little. Through her rich, descriptive language, New York is a vibrant city with many adventures that Liz and her friends grab--night or day. Her resourcefulness knew no bounds and she was smart enough to realize before it was too late, that she needed to do something with her life. Just like Jennifer Storm's Blackout Girl and Walls, Glass Castle, Liz Murray is to be applauded for what she becomes and how she gives back to her community.

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