From Homeless to Harvard

Feel like reading a good book and heartfelt memoir? A few months ago, I read: Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard, by Liz Murray. It is a book that even if you had a good upbringing will make you feel like anything is possible.

Liz grew up in the Bronx with drug addicted parents. While she was not living on the streets until she was 15, the apartments she did live in were not truly habitable. This book shares her story of coming out of horrible circumstances. She eventually graduates from high school in two years, and wins a New York Times scholarship to Harvard. It happens because of her perseverance to change her current circumstances. Some parts of the book are hard to read, but as you read, remember that she lived these experiences. There were times when she would hide in her friend’s closets on very cold days. Other times her friends would smuggle her into their rooms and feed her. My heart just yearned for the fact that her friend’s families did not take her into their homes completely. Maybe the parents were just getting by to feed their own children. I so badly wanted someone to notice her situation and take her in.

She watches both of her parents abuse drugs for many years. They steal any money Liz might make for food or clothes to pay for their drugs, and they use their welfare check at the beginning of the month for drugs. She has such love for her parents, regardless of what they put her through. Without giving it away, you will see how later in her life, the unconditional love she gives them.

After college, Liz Murray founded the Broome Street Academy, one of the first high schools for homeless youth. You can find more information about Liz Murray on her website, Manifest Living.

I encourage you to read Breaking Night. It will remind you that we are capable of more than we know.

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